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Milan Kundera


Milan Kundera became the guru of the European post-modern-loving crowd and, while he is a fine writer, I am not sure that he is good as some critics make him out to be. Clever games, eroticism and irony have their place in literature – indeed, they are essential features – but they cannot, alone make great works. This is not to say that Kundera is a bad or shallow writer. Au contraire, he is a very fine writer but, perhaps, not as good as he is made out to be and certainly his compatriots, such as Klíma, Hrabal and Skvorecky, stand comparison with him.

Kundera was born in Brno in 1929. His father was a famous pianist and Kundera’s initial training was in music. However, he soon turned to writing and film. He studied at the Academy of Performing Arts and then taught world literature there. His first writing was verse before he wrote the play Majitelé Klícu [Owners of the Keys]. His first prose fiction was the short story collection Smesné lásky (Laughable Loves). After the Soviet invasion, he was in trouble with the authorities and was expelled from his teaching post and from the Communist Party. In 1975 he was allowed to leave Czechoslovakia and went to take up a teaching position at the University of Rennes. His subsequent works were published in France and banned in Czechoslovakia. He died in 2023.

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Milan Kundera
Milan Kundera
Milan Kundera
Milan Kundera
Milan Kundera
Milan Kundera (1929- )
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Milan Kundera and the Struggle of the Individual
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On the allegations that he denounced Miroslav Dvoracek

Czech Author Kundera Accused Of Informing On Agent
Czech writer Milan Kundera accused of informing on spy to communists


1953 Clovek zahrada sirá
1955 Poslední máj
1955 O sporech dědických
1957 Monology
1960 Umění románu: Cesta Vladislava Vančury za velkou epikou
1962 Majitelé Klícu (The Owner of the Keys) (drama)
1966 Druhy sesit smesnych lasek
1967 Žert (The Joke)
1968 Dve usi dve svatby. Divadelní hra
1968 Tretí sesit smesných lásek
1968 Český úděl
1969 Směšné lásky (Laughable Loves; later: Let the Old Dead Make Room for the Young Dead)
1971 Jakub a jeho pán: Pocta Denisu Diderotovi (Jacques and His Master)
1972 Valcík na rozloucenou (The Farewell Party; Farewell Waltz)
1973 Život je jinde (Life Is Elsewhere)
1978 Kniha smíchu a zapomnění (The Book of Laughter and Forgetting)
1983 Únos západu aneb Tragédie střední Evropy (A Kidnapped West: The Tragedy of Central Europe (essay)
1981 Jakub a jeho pán (Jacques and His Master)
1984 Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
1986 L’Art du roman (The Art of the Novel)
1990 Nesmrtelnost (Immortality)
1993 Testaments trahis (Testaments Betrayed: an Essay in Nine Parts)
1993 D’en bas tu humeras les roses
1994 La Lenteur (Slowness)
1997 Identité (Identity)
2000 L’Ignorance (Ignorance)
2005 Le Rideau (The Curtain)
2009 Une rencontre (Encounter)
2014 La fête de l’insignifiance (Festival of Insignificance)