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        B O R N :  1 9 2 9  -   M O V I N G   L I T E R A T U R E   F O R W A R D


          1. A person who has written a particular text.
          2. A person who writes books, stories, or articles as a job or regular occupation.

        Andrzej Klimowski Biography

        Born on April 1, 1929, in Brno, Czechoslovakia, Kundera fueled his interest in the arts by first studying piano and music composition. His early musical inclination seems logical considering that his father, Ludvik Kundera, was a concert pianist and musicologist. Ludvik Kundera had earned recognition for collaborating with famed Czech composer Leos Janacek and for serving as rector of the state conservatory in Brno. The musical influence and training left an impact on Milan. Long after he became a writer, he would describe his openly constructed novels using musical terms and analogies.

          Happiness is the longing for repetition.

        Kundera studied both music and film as a young man, all the while writing poetry. His first published works were anthologies of poetry, including Man: A Broad Garden (1953), The Last May (1955), and Monologues (1957). Despite his success with this type of writing, Kundera was never comfortable being labeled a poet. He claimed that he was actually relieved when he lost the knack for writing poetry at the end of the 1950s...(scroll down)


        The Key to Unlock the Door of Kundera's Magical Realism:
        The Unbearable Lightness of Being (2000 Edition) [Paperback] Now @ Amazon.co.uk

          No matter how much we scorn it, kitsch is an integral part of the human condition


        KEY FACTS


          Milan Kundera


          April 1, 1929, Brno, Czechoslovakia


          Paris, France


          Prix Medicis


        milan kundera



        In 1952, he had been hired as a teacher of world literature on the film faculty at the Prague Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, a post he held until 1969. Perhaps influenced by his classes on the craft of writing, he began doing literary criticism in 1960, then turned to writing plays and short stories. Finally, he began authoring his first novel, The Joke, in the mid-1960s.

        At the time The Joke was written and published, Kundera served as an opposition leader in the reform movement that resulted in the Prague Spring of 1968, in which Czech artists and intellectuals led a cultural uprising denouncing governmental repression of the arts. Advocating a more liberal socialism, they supported President Alexander Dubcek, who introduced "socialism with a human face" during his brief tenure in office.

          People are going deaf because music is played louder and louder, but because they're going deaf, it has to be played louder still

        The Soviet invasion in the summer of 1968 stopped the liberal direction of Czech culture and government and shifted the country toward a repressive Soviet-dominated communism. Soon after, communist authorities banned over 400 authors for refusing to accept or cooperate with the new order, including Kundera, who continued to speak out against the ill effects of a repressive state on Czech literature and history. In 1969, his second novel, Life Is Elsewhere, was refused publication, and the following year, he was expelled from the Communist Party and the Writers Union. Access to his work was banned, and Kundera was reduced to making a living by writing an astrology column under a fictitious name.

        Though refused publication in his native country, Life Is Elsewhere was published in France and the United States, winning the Prix Medicis for best foreign novel in France. Undoubtedly due to the success and acclaim of that novel, Kundera was offered a teaching post at a university in France, which he accepted. He relocated to France in 1975, a big move as such a trip took longer then it would nowadays with the help of UPack moving pods and similar services that weren't available then, but he couldn't turn down such an offer.

        The novels he wrote after moving to France, including The Book of Laughter and Forgetting and The Farewell Party, became the most well-known of his literary output, forming the basis of his reputation as a contemporary writer of modernist fiction. He rose to international prominence with the publication of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which was turned into a film by American director Philip Kaufman in 1988, giving Kundera a wider profile among mainstream readers. He continued to produce his complex novels, including Immortality and Slowness, throughout the 1990s.

          The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting

        Eschewing the straightforward linear narrative, Kundera constructs his novels by putting together a series of seemingly unconnected "stories" that are nonetheless related through theme or situation. The stories are arranged specifically through chapters, subchapters, parts, or sections to suggest a sense of time or to create a mood. Often the narratives are interrupted by bits of philosophy, autobiography, or psychological conjecture. The distancing nature of his writing style has been deemed modernist, and even postmodernist, yet Kundera is quick to connect his work to the long tradition of the Central European novel.

        Communism and the politics of his country are essential to his novels' content, and his gradual disillusionment with communism can be traced in the evolution of his work. However, Kundera has always resisted being labeled a dissident writer, preferring a broader description to his work that includes and embraces past traditions and philosophies.

        Often described as ironic, satiric, pessimistic, and erotic, Kundera's work is difficult to capture in a brief summary, which amuses the novelist because he dislikes the Western media's penchant for reducing art to brief explanatory descriptions. Once, when asked in all seriousness by Antonin Liehm why he so often used the joke as a literary device, Kundera lightly replied that it was because he was born on April Fools Day.

        Selected Books

        Kingsley Amis | Martin Amis | Baudelaire | Albert Camus
        Lewis Carroll | John Le Carre | Jean Cocteau | Roald Dahl
        Dostoevsky | Daphne du Maurier | John Fowles | Jean Genet
        Andre Gide | Goethe | Graham Greene | hermann hesse
        Franz Kafka | Milan Kundera | Lautreamont | Marquis de Sade
        Nietzsche | George Orwell | Sartre | Amos Tutuola
        Evelyn Waugh | Oscar Wilde

        The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
        Life is Elsewhere

        Milan Kundera Film Adaptation Dvds @ Amazon.co.uk | Milan Kundera Posters | Photos
        Milan Kundera Photos @ Allposters.com



        Selected Books
        L I S T

        1. The Joke (1967; Eng. trans., 1982)
        2. Laughable Loves, a collection of short stories originally published in the 1960s (Eng. trans., 1974)
        3. The Farewell Party, 1976
        4. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979; Eng. trans., 1980)
        5. Life Is Elsewhere (1969; Eng. trans., 1974)
        6. The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984; Eng. trans., 1984). (film)
        7. Immortality, 1990
        8. Slowness, 1994
        9. Identity, 1998
        10. Ignorance, 2000

        Milan Kundera Books - © Milan Kundera / Faber & Faber

        I was always a big fan of the covers that the illustrator Andrzej Klimowski created for some of Kundera's books in the late 1980s. His art perfectly captured the disturbing but beautiful magical realism of the writer in a way no illustrator before or since has been able to emulate. Surreally real.

        Life Is Elsewhere (below) is one of the classic examples:

        milan kundera

        Below though are a couple of the 2000 releases in the UK of some of Kundera's covers. I have made them negative just to fit in with the background. Clicking on each will take you into more details of each book at amazon

        milan kundera

        milan kundera



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