U.S. Intellectual History Blog

A Quote for Tuesday

“‘Do you know that your case is going badly?’ asked the priest. ‘At first I thought it must turn out well,’ said K., ‘but now I frequently have my doubts. I don’t know how it will end. Do you?’ ‘No,’ said the priest, ‘but I fear it will end badly. You are held to be guilty. Your case will perhaps never get beyond a lower Court. Your guilt is supposed, for the present, at least, to be proved.’ ‘But I am not guilty,’ said K.; ‘it’s a mistake. And, if it comes to that, how can any man be called guilty? We are all simply men here, one as much as the other.’ ‘That is true,’ said the priest, ‘but that’s how all guilty men talk.”

Franz Kafka, The Trial, trans. Willa and Edwin Muir (1925; New York: Schocken, 1992), 210.