April 1 marks the 83rd birthday of Franco-Czech novelist Milan Kundera. An intense recluse, Kundera perennially shuns media attention for fear that interest in his life's story will overshadow interest in the stories that he makes up. Kundera's fiction is informed by his experiences of living under totalitarian rule (his first prose work was banned in Czechoslovakia) as well as by his early love for music, philosophy, literature, and aesthetics. His critically acclaimed and highly meditative novels deal with such diverse topics as history, translation, estrangement (Kundera exiled himself to France in 1975), kitsch, the semiotics of sexuality, and the limits of personal authenticity. Below are ten epigrams culled from Kundera’s oeuvre. Feel free to post your own favorites in the comments below.
The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything.
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