origin who has lived in exile in France since 1975, where he became a naturalized citizen
in 1981. He is best known as the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being
, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
, and The Joke. Kundera has written in both Czech
. He revises the French translations of all his books; these therefore are not considered translations but original works. His books were banned by the Communist
regimes of Czechoslovakia until the downfall of the regime in the Velvet Revolution
Kundera was born in 1929 at Purkyňova ulice, 6 (6 Purkyňova Street) in Brno
, to a middle-class family.
A novel that does not uncover a hitherto unknown segment of existence is immoral. Knowledge is the novel's only morality.
The light that radiates from the great novels time can never dim, for human existence is perpetually being forgotten by man and thus the novelists' discoveries, however old they may be, will never cease to astonish.
Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring — it was peace.
Optimism is the opium of the people.
Nothing is more repugnant to me than brotherly feelings grounded in the common baseness people see in one another.
No great movement designed to change the world can bear to be laughed at or belittled. Mockery is a rust that corrodes all it touches. :Viking, ISBN 0-14-009693-0, trans. Michael Henry Heim
People are always shouting they want to create a better future. It's not true. The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past. They are fighting for access to the laboratories where photographs are retouched and biographies and histories rewritten.