Together with Strahov Garden (Strahower Garten) and the Kinský Garden (Kinsky-Garten), the Seminary Garden (Seminargarten) forms Petřín Parks (Petříner Parks) which were until the Second World War the most popular recreational area for Praguers. From the restaurant which was built here, an exceptionally nice view opens up over Prague. And at one table in this actual restaurant, Franz Kafka decided to become a writer, as he later wrote in his diaries.

 

Franz Kafka: Diaries

It goes like this: Once, many years ago, certainly very sad, I sat on the Petřín hillside. I was reflecting on what I really wanted from life. It turned out that my most serious or enticing desire is to acquire such an outlook on life (and to be able to convince others by writing about it – which inevitably went hand in hand), whereby life would nevertheless maintain the pressure of its ups and downs, but at the same time would no less clearly appear as nothing at all, as a dream, as if floating. Perhaps it would have been a wonderful wish had I rightly desired it. Maybe like the wish of producing of a table masterfully, with the meticulous care of a craftsman furniture-maker, while at the same time doing nothing at all, and that not with the hope that somebody might say: ”This man takes working with a hammer as if it were nothing at all,“ but rather ”This man takes working with a hammer as if it were truly work with a hammer and simultaneously as if it were nothing at all,“ which makes this work with a hammer to become even more daring, even more decisive, even more real and should we so wish even more insane.

Except that he was unable to wish it in any case, because his wish was no wish at all, it was just a defence, a domestication of nothingness, a semblance of some sort of vivacity, that he wanted to add to that nothingness, towards which he had barely taken his first conscious steps, though he already felt as if he was in his element. It was at the time a kind of farewell to the delusional world of youth, for that matter he could never come to deceive himself directly, he succumbed only to the fallacious talk of the diverse mediocre authors around him. Hence, therefore, the necessity of ”wishing”.

The walk continues here.

This guided walk is a part of the "Democracy on the Brink. Historical lessons from the late 1930s" project supported by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union.

 

Foto: Adam Fjury

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