A man wants to see about holding a party with people who come together without being invited. People see and observe and speak to one another, without knowing one another. It is a banquet that any of them, according to his tastes, can arrange to suit himself without being a burden on anyone else. One can appear and disappear again whenever one wants, has no obligation to a host and is nevertheless, without hypocrisy, always welcome. When the man actually succeeds in realising this droll idea, the reader recognises that also this attempt to relieve loneliness only – produced the inventor of the first café.
Franz Kafka to Oskar Baum (1918), quoted in ‘Franz Kafka in Prague”