29 April (1913): Franz Kafka to Felice Bauer

Here, Franz Kafka writes to Felice Bauer about potentially visiting her and her family “at Whitsun” (during the Pentecost holiday).

April 29 to 30, 1913

It’s late now. I went to a Yiddish performance with Max, his wife, and Weltsch, but hurried out before the end in order to send you a few lines. What a lovely feeling to be allowed to do it! What a lovely feeling to be in your safekeeping when confronted by this fearful world which I venture to take on only during nights of writing. Today I thought that one had nothing to complain of so long as one lived with this dual feeling: that someone one loves is well disposed toward one, and that at the same time one had boundless possibilities of doing away with oneself at any moment.—Dearest, how do you visualize my Whitsun visit? The other day before going to sleep I had a wonderful idea, but it is wonderful only before going to sleep, and yet can be carried out only in broad daylight. But I won’t reveal it until you have answered the following questions. Shall I call on your family at Whitsun? And how do you imagine that should be done? 

Having presented you with these difficulties, I am going to bed, fairly calm, if it weren’t for your troubles that still seem to depress you.


This morning in haste (I am appropriating that word and not returning it to you) I took the wrong letter, and must now send this one express. Before doing so I quickly kiss your dear hand, though it didn’t put a single line on paper for me yesterday.


From Letters to Felice. Kafka, Franz, and Felice Bauer. Edited by Erich Heller and Jürgen Born; translated by James Stern and Elisabeth Duckworth. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2013.