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Franz Kafka, a drawing from Diaries, 1910–1923, 1948.

The Missing Person

In July 1908, a twenty-five-year-old Franz Kafka quit his post at the Assicurazioni Generali with a medical note claiming he was suffering from “nervousness” and something potentially complicated having to do with his heart.

Poetry Poster #8: William Logan

August 17, 2012

William Logan's "A Garret in Paris" appeared in our Summer 2012 issue on Burma. To download a high-resolution PDF of this image, click here. [...]

What Doesn’t Happen

The notion that the carriage wheels clattering through Paris
remind him of the drums from the islands in his father’s tales:
clickclack sputterwhir—he could make a song of it, dance

An Army Of Chitterlings

Then retrieved my book and kept reading, because finally I was understanding France. I had lived in Paris a number of times before: twelve months across 1977 and ’78, six months in 1998, the summer of 2001, perhaps as many as a dozen shorter visits. Yet I had never asked myself why, which probably means I was enjoying myself; usually we don’t examine our pleasures unless they’re destructive ones, and even then only if we want to avoid them. Obviously, I wanted to keep coming back. Why, though? Why not someplace warmer and less expensive, a place where I could converse fluently? (Considerable effort notwithstanding, my French seems to be stuck permanently in second gear.)

This time, though, I intended to find out. I meant to discover what it was about France, and Paris in particular, that kept yanking me back. And I only had eight days to do so; Barbara and I had come to Paris over spring break, and we had to be back in the classroom the following Tuesday. But time, because it was brief, was on my side: in the past, I’d luxuriated thoughtlessly in French volupté, and now I meant to use my handful of days to force myself to come up with some answers.


The Last Time I Saw Elliot Paul

There were a dozen of them in the tiny, crowded space, loud with talk and typewriters, and they were busy getting out the little eight-page daily that gave them their chance to live in Paris in the Nineteen Twenties.