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I came across the following sentence, which according to the written source is formulated as such:

Willst du mehr – ganz unersättlich – doch der Kosmos ist zerbrechlich.

I suppose that "unersättlich" works as an adverb and not an adjective here. Since the opening sequence appears to be written as a question, my initial thought was that the sentence could have been miswritten and was supposed to end with a question mark, like

Do you want more – completely insatiably – although the cosmos is fragile?

However, after consideration I excluded this possibility since the sentence in such a case more likely would have ended with the verb "ist". With the presumption that the full stop ending was correct, I furthermore assumed that

You want more – completely insatiably – although the cosmos is fragile.

for the same reason would be an incorrect translation too. Moreover, "Du willst mehr" would in such a case have made more sense to begin the sentence with.

Currently, my best attempt is the following translation:

If you want more – completely insatiably – the cosmos is nonetheless fragile.

Here I assume that the opening part should be interpreted as a condition (hence "If"), but fail to understand why "doch" wouldn't be placed in the same position as "nonetheless" in the translated sentence.

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This is just a case of a bad transcript. Below is the whole verse as it is transcribed here, which is obviously full of incorrect punctuation. It seems like they just mindlessly put a full stop at the end of each line.

Menschlich, ach menschlich. Mensch werde endlich, endlich!
Lass ab von dem Throne – dir gebührt niemals die Krone.
Über Tier, Wasser und Kraut und kaum hast du sie verdaut.
Willst du mehr – ganz unersättlich – doch der Kosmos ist zerbrechlich.

From the words, this punctuation would make much more sense:

Menschlich, ach, menschlich, Mensch, werde endlich, endlich!
Lass ab von dem Throne! Dir gebührt niemals die Krone
über Tier, Wasser und Kraut, und: Kaum hast du sie verdaut,
willst du mehr, ganz unersättlich, doch der Kosmos ist zerbrechlich.

So the sentence starts one line above your quote in the question, and "willst du mehr" is actually the main clause, with "willst" being in position two, after the dependent clause "Kaum hast du sie verdaut".

Kaum hast du sie verdaut, willst du mehr [...], doch der Kosmos ist zerbrechlich.

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  • So "You want more – completely insatiably – although the cosmos is fragile" would be the correct translation.
    – Paul Frost
    Feb 18 at 16:06
  • in addition what @PaulFrost said: the comma in "... werde endlich endlich" is wrong, because this is a play on words: "become finally finite!"
    – bakunin
    Feb 18 at 18:26
  • @bakunin: I disagree. It's "werde endlich menschlich", emphasized. IMO you're overinterpreting. "Werde endlich endlich" would be a lot weaker.
    – HalvarF
    Feb 18 at 19:36

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