Friday, February 22, 2008

Kafka's rival...

When Švejk subsequently described life in the lunatic asylum, he did so in exceptionally eulogistic terms: 'I really don't know why all those loonies get so angry when they're kept there. You can crawl naked on the floor, howl like a jackal, rage and bite. If anyone did this anywhere on the promenade people would be astonished, but there it's the most common or garden thing to do. There's freedom there which not even Socialists ever dreamed of. A chap can pass himself off as God Almighty, the Virgin Mary, the Pope, the King of England, His Imperial Majesty or St Wenceslas, although the chap who said he was St Wenceslas was tied up naked all day long and lay in solitary confinement. There was also a chap who shouted out that he was the Archbishop, but all he did was to eat, and, of you'll pardon the expression, do something else which rhymes with it - excrete - but no one's ashamed of doing that there. One chap even pretended to be St Cyril and Methodius just to get a double portion... was was in a straitjacket all the time so that he shouldn't be able to calculate when the world would come to an end...'

The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek

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