Best 642 of Milan Kundera quotes - MyQuotes

Follow
Milan Kundera
By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

... characters are not born like people, of woman; they are born of a situation, a sentence, a metaphor containing in a nutshell a basic human possibility that the author thinks no one else has discovered or said something essential about.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

And do you know the story about Haydn’s head? They cut it away from the still-warm cadaver so some insane scientist could take apart the brain and pinpoint the location of musical genius. And the Einstein Story? He’d carefully written his will with instructions to cremate him. They followed his orders, but his disciple, ever loyal and devoted, refused to live without the master’s gaze on him. Before the cremation, he took the eyes of the cadaver and put them in a bottle of alcohol to keep them watching him until the moment he should die himself. That’s why I said that the crematory fire is the only way our bodies can escape them. It’s the only absolute death. And I don’t want any other. Jean-Marc, I want an absolute death.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

Anyone who thinks that the Communist regimes of Central Europe are exclusively the work of criminals is overlooking a basic truth: The criminal regimes were made not by criminals but by enthusiasts convinced they had discovered the only road to paradise. They defended that road so valiantly that they were forced to execute many people. Later it became clear that there was no paradise, that the enthusiasts were therefore murderers.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Milan Kundera

I'd never recited poetry to anyone before; I've never done it since. I have a highly sensitive, built-in fuse mechanism that keeps me from opening up too far, from revealing my feelings, and reciting poetry makes me feel as though I'm talking about my feelings and standing on one leg at the same time.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

There is such a thing as everyday, ordinary, vulgar ecstasy; the ecstasy of anger, the ecstasy of speed at the wheel, the ecstasy of ear-splitting noise, ecstasy in the soccer stadium.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Milan Kundera

Seharusnya novel tidak seperti balapan sepeda, tetapi seperti perjamuan dengan banyak hidangan.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Milan Kundera

He took her in his arms and lifted her up. She looked at him and he noticed only now that her eyes were full of tears. He pressed her to him. She understood that he loved her and this suddenly filled her with sadness. She felt sad that he loved her so much, and she felt like crying.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

A young woman forced to keep drunks supplied with beer and siblings with clean underwear -instead of being allowed to pursue "something higher"- stores up great reserves of vitality, a vitality never dreamed of by university students yawning over their books.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Milan Kundera

They had been talking about his friend Z. when she announced, "If I hadn't met you, I'd certainly have fallen in love with him." Even then, her words had left Tomas in a strange state of melancholy, and now he realized it was only a matter of chance that Tereza loved him and not his friend Z. Apart from her consummated love for Tomas, there were, in the realm of pos­sibility, an infinite number of unconsummated loves for other men. We all reject out of hand the idea that the love of our life may be something light or weightless; we presume our love is what must be, that without it our life would no longer be the same; we feel that Beethoven himself, gloomy and awe-inspir­ing, is playing the "Es muss sein!" to our own great love. Tomas often thought of Tereza's remark about his friend Z. and came to the conclusion that the love story of his life exemplified not "Es muss sein!" (It must be so), but rather "Es konnte auch anders sein" (It could just as well be otherwise).

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

People are going deaf because music is played louder and louder, but because they're going deaf, it has to be played louder still.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

Actually, he had always preferred the unreal to the real.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Milan Kundera

What is flirtation? One might say that it is behavior leading another to believe that sexual intimacy is possible, while preventing that possibility from becoming a certainty. In other words, flirting is a promise of sexual intercourse without a guarantee.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

Man can only be certain about the present moment. But is that quite true either? Can he really know the present? Is he in a position to make any judgment about it? Certainly not. For how can a person with no knowledge of the future understand the meaning of the present? If we do not know what future the present is leading us toward, how can we say whether this present is good or bad, whether it deserves our concurrence, or our suspicion, or our hatred?

By Anonym 18 Sep

Milan Kundera

She spoke about it with such emphasis (somewhat affected) that I could see at once that I was hearing the manifesto of her generation. Every generation has its own set of passions, loves, and interests, which it professes with a certain tenacity, to differentiate it from older generations and to confirm itself in its uniqueness. Submitting to a generation mentality (to this pride of the herd) has always repelled me. After Miss Broz had developed her provocative argument (I've now heard it at least fifty times from people her age) that all mankind is divided into those who give hitchhikers lifts (human people who love adventure) and those who don't (inhuman people who fear life), I jokingly called her a "dogmatist of the hitch." She answered sharply that she was neither dogmatist nor revisionist nor sectarian nor deviationist, that those were all words of ours, that we had invented them, that they belonged to us, and that they were completely alien to them.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Milan Kundera

In a society run by terror, no statements whatsoever can be taken seriously. They are all forced, and it is the duty of every honest man to ignore them.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Milan Kundera

To be mortal is the most basic human experience, and yet man has never been able to accept it, grasp it, and behave accordingly. Man doesn't know hot to be mortal. And when he dies, he doesn't even know hot to be dead.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

A moral do êxtase é contrária à do processo; debaixo da sua protecção toda a gente faz o que quer; já cada qual pode chuchar no dedo à vontade, desde a mais tenra infância até ao fim do liceu, e trata-se de uma liberdade a que ninguém estará disposto a renunciar; olhemos à nossa volta no metro; cada um entre todos, sentado, tem o dedo num dos orifícios do rosto; no ouvido, na boca, no nariz; nenhum se sente visto pelos outros e cada um pensa em escrever um livro em que possa dizer o seu inimitável e único eu que escarafuncha o nariz; ninguém ouve ninguém, toda a gente escreve e todos e cada um escrevem como se dança o rock: sozinho, para si mesmo, concentrado em si, e contudo fazendo os mesmos movimentos que os outros todos fazem.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

No one can get really drunk on a novel or a painting, but who can help getting drunk on Reethoven's Ninth, Rartok's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, or the Reatles' White Album?

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

And in the mind of a woman for whom no place is home the thought of an end to all flight is unbearable

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

We don't know when our name came into being or how some distant ancestor acquired it. We don't understand our name at all, we don't know its history and yet we bear it with exalted fidelity, we merge with it, we like it, we are ridiculously proud of it as if we had thought it up ourselves in a moment of brilliant inspiration.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

Love is a desire for that lost half of ourselves.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Milan Kundera

Her drama was no drama of heaviness but of lightness. What fell to her lot was not the burden but the unbearable lightness of being

By Anonym 19 Sep

Milan Kundera

vivre dans la vérité, ne mentir ni à soi-même ni aux autres, ce n'est possible qu'à la condition de vivre sans public. Dès lors qu'il y a un témoin à nos actes, nous nous adaptons bon gré mal gré aux yeux qui nous observent, et plus rien de ce que nous faisons n'est vrai. Avoir un public, penser à un public, c'est vivre dans le mensonge (partie III, ch. 7)

By Anonym 19 Sep

Milan Kundera

There is no particular merit in being nice to one's fellow man... We can never establish with certainty what part of our relations with others is a result of our emotions - love apathy, charity of malice - and what part is predetermines by the constant power play among individuals. True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buries from view), consists of attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental débâcle, a débâcle so fundamental all others stem from it.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

I have to lie, if I don't want to take madmen seriously and become a madman myself

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

But which was the real me? Let me be perfectly honest: I was a man of many faces. (p.33)

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

After Chopin's death, Polish patriots cut up his body to take out his heart. They nationalized this poor muscle and buried it in Poland. A dead person is treated either as trash or as a symbol. Either way, it's the same disrespect to his vanished individuality.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Milan Kundera

He knew very well that his memory detested him, that it did nothing but slander him; therefore he tried not to believe it and to be more lenient toward his own life. But that didn't help: he took no pleasure in looking back, and he did it as seldom as possible.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Milan Kundera

If I were a doctor, I would diagnose his condition thus: "The patient is suffering from nostalgic insufficiency.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

Extremism means borders beyond which life ends, and a passion for extremism, in art and in politics, is a veiled longing for death.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

Jealousy isn't a pleasant quality, but if it isn't overdone (and if it's combined with modesty), apart from its inconvenience there's even something touching about it.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

Damn! What did Ansermet, that most faithful friend, know about Stravinsky's poverty of heart? What did he, that most devoted friend, know about Stravinsky's capacity to love? And where did he get his utter certainty that the heart is ethically superior to the brain? Are not vile acts committed as often with the heart's help as without it? Can't fanatics, with their bloody hands, boast of a high degree of "affective activity"? Will we ever be done with this imbecile sentimental Inquisition, the heart's Reign of Terror?

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

Biographers know nothing about the intimate sex lives of their own wives, but they think they know all about Stendhal's or Faulkner's.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

I am not worthy of my suffering. A great sentence. It suggests not only that suffering is the basis of the self, its sole indubitable ontological proof, but also that it is the one feeling most worthy of respect; the value of all values.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

The senator had only one argument in his favour: his feeling. When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object. In the realm of kitsch, the dictatorship of the heart reigns supreme.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Milan Kundera

Sí, de repente lo ví así: la mayoría de la gente se engaña mediante una doble creencia errónea: cree en el eterno recuerdo (de la gente, de las cosas, de los actos, de las naciones) y en la posibilidad de reparación (de los actos, de los errores, de los pecados, de las injusticias.Ambas creencias son falsas. La realidad es precisamente al contrario: todo será olvidado y nada será reparado. El papel de la reparación (de la venganza y el perdón) lo lleva a cabo el olvido. Nadie reparará las injusticias que se cometieron, pero todas las injusticias serán olvidadas”.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

Agnes subtracts from her self everything that is exterior and borrowed, in order to come closer to her sheer essence (even with the risk that zero lurks at the bottom of the subtraction). Laura's method is precisely the opposite: in order to make her self ever more visible, perceivable, seizable, sizeable, she keeps adding to it more and more attributes and she attempts to identify herself with them (with the risk that the essence of the self may be buried by the additional attributes).

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

Man reckons with immortality, and forgets to reckon with death.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

She knew, of course that she was being supremely unfair, that Franz was the best man she ever had- he was intelligent, he understood her paintings, he was handsome and good-but the more she thought about it, the more she longed to ravish his intelligence, defile his kindheartedness, and violate his powerless strength

By Anonym 17 Sep

Milan Kundera

Não existe meio de verificar qual é a boa decisão, pois não existe termo de comparação. Tudo é vivido pela primeira vez e sem preparação. Como se um ator entrasse em cena sem nunca ter ensaiado. Mas o que pode valer a vida, se o primeiro ensaio da vida já é a própria vida?

By Anonym 19 Sep

Milan Kundera

What drove such people to their sinister occupations? Spite? Certainly, but also the desire for order. Because the desire for order tries to transform the human world into an inorganic reign in which everything goes well, everything functions as a subject of an impersonal will. The desire for order is at the same time a desire for death, because life is a perpetual violation of order. Or, inversely, the desire for order is a virtuous pretext by which man's hatred for man justifies its crimes.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Milan Kundera

She began to teeter as she walked, fell almost daily, bumped into things or, at the very least, dropped objects. She was in the grip of an insuperable longing to fall. She lived in a constant state of vertigo. 'Pick me up,' is the message of a person who keeps falling.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Milan Kundera

For a trial is initiated not to render justice but to annihilate the defendant. Even when the trial is of dead people, the point is to kill them off a second time: by burning their books; by removing their names from the schoolbooks; by demolishing their monuments; by rechristening the streets that bore their names.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Milan Kundera

People meet in the course of life, they talk together, they discuss, they quarrel, without realizing that they're talking to one another across a distance, each from an observation post standing in a different place in time.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Milan Kundera

Yes, suddenly I saw it clearly: most people deceive themselves with a pair of faiths: they believe in eternal memory (of people, things, deeds, nations) and in redressibility (of deeds, mistakes, sins, wrongs). Both are false faiths. In reality the opposite is true: everything will be forgotten and nothing will be redressed. The task of obtaining redress (by vengeance or by forgiveness) will be taken over by forgetting. No one will redress the wrongs that have been done, but all wrongs will be forgotten.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Milan Kundera

What is a novel if not a trap for catching a hero?

By Anonym 18 Sep

Milan Kundera

The children laughing without knowing why - isn't that beautiful?

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

Our historical experience teaches us that men imitate one another, that their attitudes are statistically calculable, their opinions manipulable, and that man is therefore less an individual (a subject) than an element in a mass.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Milan Kundera

How defenseless we are in the face of flattery!