Milan Kundera, exiled Czech writer who made light of the unbearable, dies at 94

PRAGUE: Czech-born novelist Milan Kundera, who satirised totalitarian regimes and blended darkish irony with philosophical musings to discover the human situation, has died, a library he labored with stated on Wednesday. He was 94.
The writer of “The Insufferable Lightness of Being” gained accolades for his fashion in depicting themes and characters that floated between the mundane actuality of on a regular basis life and the lofty world of concepts. He not often gave interviews and believed writers ought to communicate by way of their work.


His first novel “The Joke”, printed in 1967, supplied a scathing portrayal of the Czechoslovak Communist regime.
Coming at a time when Czech reformers have been in search of to determine “socialism with a human face”, the novel was a primary step in Kundera’s path from celebration member to exiled dissident, a moniker he disdained.
He instructed French day by day Le Monde in 1976 that to name his works political was to oversimplify, and due to this fact obscure their true significance.
A 12 months earlier Kundera was blacklisted after criticising the Soviet invasion of 1968 and at last pressured to to migrate along with his spouse Vera to France, the place he finally turned a citizen.
His first novel as an emigre was “The E-book of Laughter and Forgetting” (1979), a narrative written in seven components that confirmed the ability of totalitarian regimes to erase components of historical past and create an alternate previous.
Whereas not as effectively often called “The Insufferable Lightness of Being”, printed 5 years later, the guide cemented Kundera’s status as a number one novelist with critics who known as it a piece of genius. It additionally value him his Czechoslovak citizenship. He regained a Czech passport in 2019.
“The E-book of Laughter and Forgetting calls itself a novel, though it’s half fairy story, half literary criticism, half political tract, half musicology, and half autobiography,” the New York Instances wrote in a overview.
“It could name itself no matter it desires to, as a result of the entire is a genius.”
Born within the Moravian capital of Brno on April 1, 1929 to a musicologist who studied beneath the composer Leos Janacek, Kundera started writing poems in highschool and studied at Charles College in Prague after World War II.
Like many younger males of his age, he joined the Communist celebration however was later expelled. In the course of the Sixties he taught at a movie academy the place his college students included Milos Forman, who was among the many creators of the Czech New Wave movies.
Throughout his exile the writer had an icy relationship along with his former homeland, writing his new works in French and even stopping a few of his novels from being translated into Czech. He as soon as instructed an interviewer he thought-about himself French somewhat than an emigre.
However Kundera by no means misplaced a connection along with his homeland and plenty of of his books passed off within the nation of his start. He not often made public visits residence after the Velvet Revolution of 1989 toppled the Communist regime, preferring as an alternative to quietly slip into the nation to go to family and friends.
Kundera lived principally out of the general public eye however made a public assertion in 2008 to disclaim a report that he had turned in a younger pilot as a spy in 1950, who landed in uranium mines and prisons for 14 years.
“It isn’t true, the one thriller that I can not clarify is how my title bought there,” he stated.
Translated into greater than 20 languages, Kundera gained a number of literary prizes, together with the Prix Europa-Litterature for the ensemble of his work.
In 1973, his “Life Is Elsewhere” gained France’s coveted Prix Medicis for finest overseas novel, and “”The Farewell Social gathering”, a modern-day sexual farce set in an east European spa, gained Italy’s Premio Mondello in 1978.
He was nominated a number of occasions for the Nobel Prize in literature however by no means gained.
Accepting the Jerusalem Prize in 1985, Kundera stated: “It pleases me to assume that the artwork of the novel got here into the world because the echo of God’s laughter.”
Kundera defined what drove him as a author and his disdain for self-reflection in an interview with the New York Instances the identical 12 months.
“Solely a literary work that reveals an unknown fragment of human existence has a cause for being,” he stated within the interview. “To be a author doesn’t imply to evangelise a reality, it means to find a reality.”

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