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His characters occupy a stage that is defined half by Kundera’s imagination, half by the historical reality of recent Czech history.He tends to work with extremely short chapters and a shifting, episodic narrative that together create a montage of images, story lines, and characterizations.Though he has developed a voice that is unmistakably his own, his best work exercises an appeal that can be said to epitomize the of contemporary “dissident” fiction: fiercely intellectual, it is charged with a cool, at times almost brutal eroticism and ironic humor, and it is everywhere at pains to declare its fictionality, to call attention to its novelistic status.
They were so young that the Russians did not have them on their lists yet and they could remain in editorial offices, schools, and film studios.
These fine young friends, whom I will never betray, suggested I use their names as a cover for writing radio and television scripts, plays, articles, columns, film treatments—anything to earn a living.
But taken in conjunction with his attempt to downplay the frankly political message of his work, Kundera’s criticisms of the West highlight ambiguities at the heart of his position—ambiguities that force us to question the good faith and ideological motives of this troubling and again, Kundera has praised the “wisdom of the novel” as a counter to the leveling influence of modern society.
In the midst of an environment hostile to private life and the integrity of the individual, the novel appears as a sanctuary where the “precious essence of European individualism is held safe as in a treasure chest.” It is thus not surprising that the major thematic concern of Kundera’s fiction, from , is with the fate of the individual in modern society, especially in modern Communist society.
“What does Europe mean to a Hungarian, a Czech, a Pole? “Their nations have always belonged to the part of Europe rooted in Roman Christianity.
They have participated in every period of its history.
was banned and removed from public libraries—“erased,” as Kundera put it, “from the history of Czech literature.” Finally, in 1975, Kundera emigrated to France, where he has since resided.
Now, Kundera is indisputably a writer of enormous talent.
To this end, he has developed a terse, sinewy style, sharply ironical yet urgently engaged.
The narrative is constantly interrupted as Kundera steps back to impart a bit of philosophy, autobiography, or psychological conjecture. With it he perfected his digressive narrative technique, in which themes are stated, developed, transformed, and interwoven more or less on the model of a musical variation—an analogy that Kundera has been fond of invoking when describing his writing.