‘I don’t like humanity, because I have never seen it, because I don’t know it. The concept of humanity is perfectly hollow. And take note, councillor: every confidence-trickster is a humanitarian. Those who are greedy, those who would not spare a crust for their own brothers, those who are the worst of scoundrels, they all have a humanitarian ideal. They hang people and murder them, still they are humanitarians. They desecrate their homes, they kick their wives out, they neglect their parents and their children, and what are they? Humanitarians. There’s no more comfortable position. It obliges you to nothing. No individual has yet come to me announcing, I am humanity. Humanity requires no food, no clothes, it maintains a decent distance somewhere in the background with a halo round its brow. There is Peter and there is Paul. They are only people. Humanity does not exist.’

‘What about patriotism?’

‘Same thing,’ said Moviszter and hesitated, seeking the best way of putting it. ‘As you know it is a very beautiful, very general concept. Much too general. Think of the sins committed in its name.’



‘Then why did she do it?’ asked Moviszter, forgetting himself. ‘My impression,’ he stubbornly repeated, ‘my impression is that they did not deal with her as with a human being. To them she was not a human being but a machine. They turned her into a machine,’ he raised his voice almost to a shout. ‘They treated her without humanity. They were beastly to her.’










Dezső Kosztolányi, Anna Édes 

translated by George Szirtes; New Directions Publishing, 1993; 

wyd. pol. Grzech słodkiej Anny , tłum.  Józef Mondschein, Kraków 1931