Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 33

Thread: Milan Kundera

  1. #16
    closed
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Amongst the shadows
    Posts
    451
    Quote Originally Posted by Noisms View Post
    I'm not a Kundera expert; when did he stop writing in Czech and turn to French? I was under the impression he wrote all his books in Czech, but obviously I'm wrong...
    His first works (The Joke and on) were written in Czech, but somewhere in the early 90s he switched to French (I believe from Slowness on), so sometimes critics speak of his "Czech period" and his "French period".

    (I also read somewhere, but cannot rememeber where, that he himself translated into French his works, so de facto all of his books exist in French with authority of the original work.)

  2. #17
    Booze Hound Noisms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Kanagawa, Japan.
    Posts
    139
    Quote Originally Posted by Anastasija View Post
    His first works (The Joke and on) were written in Czech, but somewhere in the early 90s he switched to French (I believe from Slowness on), so sometimes critics speak of his "Czech period" and his "French period".

    (I also read somewhere, but cannot rememeber where, that he himself translated into French his works, so de facto all of his books exist in French with authority of the original work.)
    I think he had problems with translation into other languages, though. My edition of The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, which is fairly recent, is the only one to have had his "blessing" - he reckons that the original translation from Czech to English was terrible.

    Interesting that writing in different languages alters a writer's style. I'd never thought of that, but it makes sense. Speaking another language tends affect your personality, after all.

  3. #18
    Two Gun Kid Idril's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    North Dakota
    Posts
    9,468
    Quote Originally Posted by Anastasija View Post
    My favourite Kundera's work is Life is Elsewhere. By the way, I also greatly prefer his Czech writings to his French writings.
    I love that one! My favorite would be between that one and The Joke. There is such a darkness to The Joke that just fascinated me. Another excellent one is The Farewell Waltz which is also part of his Czech writings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noisms View Post
    I'm not a Kundera expert; when did he stop writing in Czech and turn to French? I was under the impression he wrote all his books in Czech, but obviously I'm wrong...
    He started writing in French in the early 90's. The last book that was written in Czech was Immortality, I think.
    the luminous grass of the prairie hides
    feet lovely and still as sleeping doves,
    porcelain bones strong enough to carry a life,
    but weighty and unmovable
    As black Dakota hills.
    ~ Riesa

  4. #19
    Searching for..... amalia1985's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Athens, Greece
    Posts
    4,660
    Every novel by him is among my all-time favourites...He is a phenomenon...
    None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe that they are free.
    -Goethe

  5. #20
    Ataraxia bazarov's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    In spleen
    Posts
    2,219
    I haven't gone far more from Tomas and Tereza...

    Nice nokturno, Anastasija!
    At thunder and tempest, At the world's coldheartedness,
    During times of heavy loss And when you're sad
    The greatest art on earth Is to seem uncomplicatedly gay.

    To get things clear, they have to firstly be very unclear. But if you get them too quickly, you probably got them wrong.
    If you need me urgent, send me a PM

  6. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1

    Unbearable thoughts

    I've recently finished 'The Unbearable Lightness...' and I think it has plenty to offer in regard to thoughts of how individuals oppress each other and themselves. His writing has a quality of music that I have not come across so clearly in a novel. As to the ending, it feels unfinished but only in the sense that it is unfinished; maybe Thomas & Tereza's lives could have gone on but all that's important is that we leave them, prehaps forever, dancing. A good synthesis of weight & lightness.

  7. #22
    The Curtain, an essay in seven parts.

    Should be required reading for anyone who can read, and should be read to everyone that can't but understands english.

  8. #23
    Registered User Heteronym's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    352
    I'm Immortality away from finishing reading everything Milan Kundera has published. I first picked up Identity, which left me wondering what was all the fuss about him. But some time later I read The Book of Laughter and Forgetting and I was hooked. I've even read his play and his trilogy of literary criticism. For me he's one of the best writers alive, if not the best (now that José Saramago has passed away).

    Kundera has so many good qualities:

    - A great sense of humor. He has an absurdist view of existence and a tendency to undermine tragedy, of turning dangerous, oppressive situations into farces.

    - Lack of judgement. He doesn't sit down in judgement on his characters. Good and bad alike benefit from his gentleness, because there isn't a superior being giving out rewards and punishments. There's just life, which is stupid and arbitrary.

    - Lightness of prose. Using his noun to describe Kundera is a cliché by now, but there isn't a better way of describing the way his prose, simple and playful, works.

    - A unique style that mixes narrative storytelling with essay writing. Kundera has a digressive style that often interrupts the narrative so that he can make comments on diverse subjects. The digressions, for instance, in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting about the poet Paul Éluard and Zavis Kalandra, were fascinating, and then he seamlessly tied them up with the main story. It was a remarkable display of craft.

    It's a pity he hasn't written a novel in ten years. This has turned him in a living writer that few remember is still alive. But whoever gives him a try will be rewarded with great novels.

  9. #24
    a strange loop
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    13
    I have read the Unbearable Lightness and Ignorance, which I liked both. Being especially fond of his many didactic comments on various topics (especially on the origin of certain words) and the moral indifference.

  10. #25
    Registered User Heteronym's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    352
    You should also give a try to José Saramago. Saramago is another writer who likes to interrupt the narrative to go into digressions about several topics, always with illuminating irony.

  11. #26
    a strange loop
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    13
    Quote Originally Posted by Heteronym View Post
    You should also give a try to José Saramago. Saramago is another writer who likes to interrupt the narrative to go into digressions about several topics, always with illuminating irony.
    Thanks for the suggestion, which book of his should I try first? Also, which Kundera novels do you consider best? I'd like to ingest more, however, randomly picking a novel led me to some nausea-inducing experiences before. Information is key

  12. #27
    Registered User Heteronym's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    352
    By Saramago, I'd recommend Death With Interruptions (this one is especially hilarious) or All The Names.

    By Kundera I'd suggest Life Is Elsewhere (about the involvement of a poet in the Prague Spring), The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (a fascinating mix of essay form, autobiography and fiction - arguably his most experimental and rewarding novel), and The Joke (about a young man sentenced to forced labour in a camp because of an innocent joke about Lenin).

  13. #28
    Registered User Veho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    In the attic
    Posts
    588
    I've read The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Immortality and so far I adore his work. The latter of the two is my favourite and I have The Joke lined up next. There's just something about his writing - it's subtle and unimposing yet deals with human nature so beautifully. Immortality has no plot really but it didn't need one - the poetic prose and the author's observations on life/love/death etc were more than enough. He is an author I consider one of my favourites and I'm just glad he has much more work for me to discover.
    "...You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?..." E. A. Poe

  14. #29
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    trapped in a prologue.
    Posts
    2,383
    Blog Entries
    7
    I should try Immortality. I read Unbearable Lightness... a few years ago and had mixed feelings. I agree with Veho in regards to his writing style - but as far as the book itself, I found it very forgettable. In fact, I can tell you very little about what happens. All that I really remember is the dream that takes place on top of Petra Hill.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  15. #30
    Registered User Veho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    In the attic
    Posts
    588
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Darnay View Post
    I should try Immortality. I read Unbearable Lightness... a few years ago and had mixed feelings. I agree with Veho in regards to his writing style - but as far as the book itself, I found it very forgettable. In fact, I can tell you very little about what happens. All that I really remember is the dream that takes place on top of Petra Hill.
    I would definitely give Immortality a try, I did think it much superior to TULOB, although I enjoyed that too.

    Edit: As to them being forgettable, I wonder if that's because of a lack of plot in either of them really. I can't remember what happens myself, but I remember the beauty of Kundera's observations and his style. It is that which makes me enjoy his work and remember him.
    Last edited by Veho; 03-26-2012 at 08:26 PM.
    "...You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?..." E. A. Poe

Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Is Shakespeare "more tragic" than the Greeks?
    By Sitaram in forum Shakespeare, William
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 07-21-2005, 12:35 PM
  2. The Sound Word
    By Sitaram in forum General Literature
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-12-2005, 08:01 PM
  3. Kundera
    By Ginger in forum General Literature
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 12-23-2003, 09:49 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •