Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The Burrow

I have completed the construction of my burrow and it seems to be successful. All that can be seen from outside is a big hole; that, however, really leads nowhere; if you take a few steps you strike against natural firm rock. I can make no boast of having contrived this ruse intentionally; it is simply the remains of one of my many abortive building attempts, but finally it seemed to me advisable to leave this one hole without filling it in. True, some ruses are so subtle that they defeat themselves, I know that better than any one, and it is certainly a risk to draw attention by this hole to the fact
that there may be something in the vicinity worth enquiring into. But you do not know me if you think I am afraid, or that I built my burrow simply out of fear. At a distance of some thousand paces from this hole lies, covered by a movable layer of moss, the real entrance to the burrow; it is secured as safely as anything in this world can be secured…

Continuing along the lines of obsessive environments, I hereby enclose the first few words of The Burrow, original title Der Bau (the Construction), short story by Franz Kafka, included in The Complete Stories. The main character of this story devotes his life to the creation of a tunnel of constantly increasing complexity. Throughout the whole text he has the obsessive idea that this complex work of architecture (the burrow) will be attacked by potential enemies at any time. Curiously enough, the den, created with a constant paranoid striving for perfection, does not result in its author's peace and calm. To the contrary, it rather causes him increasing anxiety.

Kafka, Franz (ed. Nahum N. Glatzer). The Complete Stories. New York: Schocken Books, 1971 (Hardcover) ISBN 0805234195, 1988 (Paperback) ISBN 0805208739
If you wish to read the original text in german, please click here

No comments: