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    NADJA: Stories and Fragme
By Christof Wackernagel

WHEN Kafka met Brecht They didn't know what to talk about. They were sitting in one of the NASA control rooms in Housten and views of Prague were flickering on all the TV screens in obviously artificial colors. Kafka thought of narrow streets and fleeting glances from women he would never have the courage to address; ha was convinced it would make no sense to talk Brecht about his melancholy. They drank coffee from standardized plastic cups that had been served casually by a tanned, muscular college student. In the corner, a child was earnestly playing with a small toy robot. Brecht, desperatelv at a loss for words, wished Beckett were there, thinking he might be able to overcome the embarrassment of the situation. Or Richard Hülsenbeck or Hans Arp, he thought; anyone who won't keep rminding me that I will never succeed in producing such anguish. Kafka thought to himself that Brecht probably despised him because he was apolitical: I can't help it he thought, desperately, and yearned for the noncommittal darkness of a theater where, sitting alone in the last row, he could watch the dress rehearsal of a play in which beautiful women, enacting tragic scenarios, would have to die senselessly.

Brecht was suddenly unable to concentrate. His thoughts were a chaos af sentence fragments, and he caught himself wondering wether this was actually all a dream. This was nonsense, of course, for they were walking across an utterly real wooden bridge in an English landscape of hte early 19th century. Kafka, in a chatty tone, was talking about the romance of a little boy and a little girl who lived on opposite of the bridge, but who were not allowed to speak to
one other because there parents were mortal enemies. But Brecht was unintrested aspacially since he was thinking intensely about Stalin; indeed, he was obstinately hauntedby the idea that you can't make an omeletwithout breaking some eggs. But Brecht felt the idea was far too flat and banal for such a historic figure as Stalin. He grew irritated. The harder he tried to shake off that thougt, the more vehemently it obsessed him. Nor could he endure Kafka's chitchat, which, he suddenly realized to his great astonishment , he hadn't been able to understand for some time. The sensitive Kafka noticed this, of course, and, deeply offended, lapsed into silence. All at once, both of them felt as if they had been marking time for an eterni in the middle of the bridge; they had been changing the entire world around them, but not moving from the spot themselves. " The blue rider," joked Kafka weakly, when they saw the misshapen, somewhat unicorn-like donkey that kept Stalin in check. But Brecht did not find this at all funny. And thus it was that two masters found no language with which to communicate with one another.

The preceding is exerpted from Nadja:
Erzählungen und Fragmente (Nadja: Storeies and Fragments), 1985

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