At Night (short story)

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"At Night" (German: "Nachts") is a very short story by Franz Kafka written in his notebooks.[1]

As with many of the pieces in his notebooks, the tale is more of a segment then a story. The narrator reflects on the emptiness that can engulf one during nighttime. Yet, at the same time, where each person sleeps there has been a rich history. Someone, the story says, must watch others at night, either for protection or posterity.

Gustav Janouch suggests that Kafka's tale was influenced both by his persistent insomnia and a desire to relate the potential dangers of people in society who are not watched when they should be.[2]


  1. ^ The Blue Octavo Notebooks by Franz Kafka, Max Brod - 1991
  2. ^ Conversations with Kafka by G. Janouch - 1971