Milan Kundera

Czech Republic
Born on 1 Apr 1929


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Friendship Is Indispensable (1)

Friendship is indispensable to man for the proper function of his memory. Remembering our past, carrying it with us always, may be the necessary requirement for maintaining, as they say, the wholenes...

Youth Is Terrible (2)

Youth is terrible: it is a stage trod by children in buskins and a variety of costumes mouthing speeches they've memorized and fanatically believe but only half understand. And history is terrible be...
The Joke

What Is an Intimate Secret?  (3)

Anyhow, he asks himself, what is an intimate secret? Is that where we hide what's most mysterious, most singular, most original about a human being? Are her intimate secrets what make Chantal the uni...

The Woman He Loves (4)

The psychology and physiological mechanism of love is so complex that at a certain period in his life a young man must concentrate all his energy on coming to grips with it, and in this way he misses...
The Joke

Love at First Sight (5)

A great deal has been said about love at first sight; I am perfectly aware of love's retrospective tendency to make a legend of itself, turn its beginnings into myth; so I don't want to assert that i...
The Joke

Past Distortion (6)

We will never cease our critique of those persons who distort the past, rewrite it, falsify it, who exaggerate the importance of one event and fail to mention some other; such a critique is proper (i...

Totalitarianism (7)

Totalitarianism is not only hell, but all the dream of paradise-- the age-old dream of a world where everybody would live in harmony, united by a single common will and faith, without secrets from on...
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

The Planet of Inexperience (8)

We are born one time only, we can never start a new life equipped with the experience we've gained from the previous one. We leave childhood without knowing what youth is, we marry without knowing wh...
The Art of the Novel

A Person Is Nothing but His Image (9)

A person is nothing but his image. Philosophers can tell us that it doesn't matter what the world thinks of us, that nothing matters but what we really are. But philosophers don't understand anything...

What I Love in a Woman (10)

It seemed to me an error in reasoning for a man to isolate a woman he loves from all the circumstances in which he met her and in which she lives, to try, with dogged inner concentration, to purify h...
The Joke
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."