Franz Kafka

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wunsch, Indianer zu werden, by Franz Kafka, The Wish To Be a Red Indian, English Translation, Desiderio di diventare un Indiano,Traduzione in Italiano

Andy Warhol, Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century, Franz Kafka, 1980

Wunsch, Indianer zu werden, F. Kafka, 1913 
Wenn man doch ein Indianer wäre, gleich bereit, und auf dem rennenden Pferde, schief in der Luft, immer wieder kurz erzitterte über dem zitternden Boden, bis man die Sporen ließ, denn es gab keine Sporen, bis man die Zügel wegwarf, denn es gab keine Zügel, und kaum das Land vor sich als glatt gemähte Heide sah, schon ohne Pferdehals und Pferdekopf.
English and Italian translation by Literary Joint follows, with a few notes on the text...

Translation in English:
The Wish To Be a Red Indian
If we were only Indians, instantly alert, on the racing horse, leaning into the wind, always jerking with brief quivers on the quivering ground, until the spurs are shed, for there are no spurs, until the reins are thrown away, for there are no reins, and the land unfolding before one's sight is shorn heath, already without horse's neck and horse's head.

From "The Tales of Franz Kafka: English Translation With Original Text In German," available as e-book on Amazon Kindle, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touchon NOOK Bookon Koboand as printed, traditional edition through Lulu. 

Traduzione in italiano:
Desiderio di diventare un Indiano
Se almeno si fosse indiani, subito pronti, e sul cavallo in corsa, obliqui nel vento, sempre scossi da brevi sussulti sul suolo sussultante, fino a lasciare gli speroni, poiché non ci sono speroni, fino a gettare le redini, poiché non ci sono redini, e fino a intravedere la terra come brughiera rasa che si distende davanti, ormai senza più collo né testa di cavallo.
This short epigram by Franz Kafka has often puzzled the scholars; indeed it is hard to capture its  essence, ever receding, always escaping, as in a quest to touch and feel a dream-like fabric. It reminds us of the myth of Pegasus, the winged horse, capable of defeating gravity, shedding the misery of earthling life in order to achieve a higher spiritual realm. Spurs and reins also recall the constraint that suffocates individual freedom, since Kafka precognized the raise of totalitarianism. The beheaded horse, the fall of the very vector of physical existence, possibly hints at a transcendent perception of truth, beyond the common understanding of ordinary life, but also past the sheer rationalism of intellectual speculation.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. "Si seulement on était un indien, prêt sur le champ, et sur son cheval au galop, incliné dans l’air, qu’on tremblait sans cesse sur le sol tremblant, jusqu’à laisser les éperons, car il n’y avait pas d’éperons, jusqu’à jeter les rênes, car il n’y avait pas de rênes, et qu’on voyait le pays devant soi, lande bien tondue, encolure et tête de cheval évanouies."


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