The question is on this sentence from Kafka's Der Prozess.

»Was wäre denn zu sagen?«, antwortete K., der dessen müde war, die Augen des Fräulein Montag fortwährend auf seine Lippe gerichtet zu sehen.


  1. Is dessen a genitive relative pronoun?

  2. If yes to 1, why does Kafka use it instead of seiner, the genitive personal pronoun, which would seem to make more sense?

2 Answers 2


[einer Sache] müde sein is an expression used to say "to be tired of [something]". Note that "einer Sache" is in the genitive form.

So dessen is the genitive of das = "the thing he was tired of". In this case, that's the fact that Miss Montag kept staring at his lips.


It is not a relative pronoun, but a demonstrative pronoun, referring forward to the infinitive construction: tired of seeing. Replacing it with the personal pronoun seiner would render the sentence ungrammatical because the infinitive no longer would be connected to the rest; it would also change the meaning, as K. then would be tired of some previously mentioned person.

  • 1
    My Anglophone mind was looking for es (hence seiner) even after seeing das for this sort of thing (also in darum, dafür etc.) countless times! I am "choosing" the other answer to encourage the member with a lower reputation.
    – Catomic
    Apr 12, 2016 at 7:03

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