Milan Kundera

Milan Kundera (mĬl´än kŏŏndĕr´ə), 1929–, Czechslovakian-born novelist and essayist. The publication of his first novel, The Joke (1967, tr. 1974), a satire of Stalinist Czechoslovakia in the 1950s, roughly coincided with the 1968 Soviet invasion of his homeland. The book and his criticism of the invasion brought Kundera, formerly a committed communist, severe disapproval by the new government, and were key factors in the banning of his work, his expulsion from the Communist party, and the loss of both his teaching position and his citizenship. These events led to his decision to flee Czechoslovakia and settle (1975) in France, where he became (1981) a citizen.

His widely translated fiction, which is often set against a totalitarian backdrop yet is usually apolitical in tone, looks ironically at love, sex, and the possibility of spiritual fulfillment in the modern age. His works frequently treat themes of exile and return, memory and forgetfulness, nostalgia and regret. Kundera's most acclaimed novels are The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979, tr. 1980, 1996) and The Unbearable Lightness of Being (tr. 1984). Among his other novels are Life Is Elsewhere (tr. 1974, 2000) and Immortality (1990, tr. 1991), both written in Czech; and Slowness (1995, tr. 1996), Identity (1997, tr. 1998), and Ignorance (2000, tr. 2002), all originally in French. He has also written plays, short stories, poetry, and essays. Among the latter are collections containing his reflections on fiction, The Art of the Novel (1986, tr. 1988), Testaments Betrayed (tr. 1995), The Curtain (2005, tr. 2007), and Encounter (2009, tr. 2010), in which he also discusses poetry, music, and painting.

See studies by M. N. Banerjee (1990) and F. Ricard (2003).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Milan Kundera: Selected full-text books and articles

The Art of Memory in Exile: Vladimir Nabokov & Milan Kundera By Hana Píchová Southern Illinois University Press, 2002
Lyric Poetry, the Novel, and Revolution: Milan Kundera's Life Is Elsewhere By Seaton, James Humanitas, Vol. 20, No. 1-2, Spring-Fall 2007
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Humanity's "True Moral Test": Shame, Idyll, and Animal Vulnerability in Milan Kundera's the Unbearable Lightness of Being By Mai, Joseph Studies in the Novel, Vol. 46, No. 1, Spring 2014
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
An Analysis of Irony in the Unbearable Lightness of Being By Yuanhua, Chen; Qian, Wang Studies in Literature and Language, Vol. 10, No. 3, May 1, 2015
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Intertextual Loops in Modern Drama By Christine Kiebuzinska Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2001
The Language of Fiction in a World of Pain: Reading Politics as Paradox By Barbara J. Eckstein University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990
Librarian's tip: Chap. II "Sex, Motherhood, and the State: Milan Kundera's Book of Laughter and Forgetting"
Unbearable Stardom By Thirwell, Adam New Statesman (1996), Vol. 129, No. 4509, October 23, 2000
Elsewhere: Translingual Kundera By Woods, Michelle Studies in the Novel, Vol. 48, No. 4, Winter 2016
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
"Love Is a Losing Game": Textual Games in Milan Kundera's "The Hitchhiking Game" By Snyman, Elisabeth; Crous, Elsa Journal of Literary Studies, Vol. 30, No. 3, September 2014
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Multicultural Writers since 1945: An A-to-Z Guide By Alba Amoia; Bettina L. Knapp Greenwood Press, 2004
Librarian's tip: "Milan Kundera" begins on p. 299
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