Best 642 of Milan Kundera quotes - MyQuotes

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Milan Kundera
By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

But was it love? The feeling of wanting to die beside her was clearly exaggerated: he had seen her only once before in his life! Was it simply the hysteria of a man, who, aware deep down of his inaptitude for love, felt the self-deluding need to simulate it?

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 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

Aesthetic racism is almost always a sign of inexperience. Those who have not made their way far enough into the world of amorous delights judge women only by what can be seen. But those who really know women understand that the eye reveals only a minute fraction of what a woman can offer us. When God bade mankind be fruitful and multiply, Doctor, He was thinking of the ugly as well as of the beautiful. I am convinced I might add, that the aesthetic criterion does not come from God but from the devil. In paradise no distinction was made between ugliness and beauty.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful ... Love begins at the point when a woman enters her first word into our poetic memory.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Milan Kundera

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 (it cannot fail to be), but it doesn't count for much unless a more basic critique precedes it: a critique of human memory as such. For after all, what can memory actually do, the poor thing? It is only capable of retaining a paltry little scrap of the past, and no one knows why just this scrap and not some other one, since in each of us the choice occurs mysteriously, outside our will or our interests. We won't understand a thing about human life if we persist in avoiding the most obvious fact: that a reality no longer is what it was when it was; it cannot be reconstructed. Even the most voluminous archives cannot help.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

Dreaming is not merely an act of communication (or coded communication, if you like); it is also an aesthetic activity, a game of the imagination, a game that is a value in itself. Our dreams prove that to imagine--to dream about things that have not happened--is among mankind's deepest needs. Herein lies the danger. If dreams were not beautiful, they would be quickly forgotten.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Milan Kundera

Ya saben ustedes lo que ocurre cuando dos personas están charlando. Uno habla y el otro le interrumpe. Eso es lo mismo que me pasa a mí, yo... y comienza a hablar de sí mismo hasta que el otro no logre de nuevo decir: eso es lo mismo que me pasa a mí, yo...    La frase eso es lo mismo que me pasa a mí, yo... parece como si continuase los pensamientos del otro, como si enlazase con ellos dándoles la razón, pero eso es falso: en realidad se trata de una rebelión brutal contra una brutal violencia, de un intento de liberar de la esclavitud la propia oreja y ocupar por la fuerza la oreja del contrario. Porque toda la vida del hombre entre la gente no es más que una lucha por la oreja ajena.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

The border between good and evil is terribly fuzzy.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

Disgust at having to talk about oneself is what distinguishes novelistic talent from lyric talent.

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 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

In Tereza's eyes, books were the emblems of a secret brotherhood

By Anonym 18 Sep

Milan Kundera

The ethic of ecstasy is the opposite of the trial's ethic; under its protection everybody does whatever he wants: now anyone can suck his thumb as he likes, from infancy to graduation, and it is a freedom no one will be willing to give up; look around you on the Metro; seated or standing, every single person has a finger in some orifice of his face-in the ear, in the mouth, in the nose; no one feels he's being observed, and everyone dreams of writing a book to tell about his unique and inimitable self, which is picking its nose; no one listens to anyone else, everyone writes, and each of them writes the way rock is danced to: alone, for himself, focused on himself yet making the same motions as all the others. In this situation of uniform egocentricity, the sense of guilt does not play the role it once did; the tribunals still operate, but they are fascinated exclusively by the past; they see only the core of the century; they see only the generations that are old or dead.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Milan Kundera

Dreaming is not only an act of communication; it is also an aesthetic activity, a game of the imagination, a game that is a value in itself. Our dreams prove that to imagine - to dream about things that have not happened - is among mankind’s deepest needs. Herein lies the danger. If dreams were beautiful, they would quickly be forgotten.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

The longing for Paradise is man's longing not to be man.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Milan Kundera

Ése es uno de los curiosos secretos de la vida, el de que los inocentes cargan con la culpa en lugar de los culpables.

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 19 Sep

Milan Kundera

They walked along in silence. Silence was the only way of not thinking about Karenin in the past tense. They did not let him out of their sight; they were with him constantly, waiting for him to smile. But he did not smile; he merely walked with them, limping along on his three legs. He's just doing it for us, said Tereza. He didn't want to go for a walk. He's just doing it to make us happy. It was sad, what she said, yet without realizing it they were happy. They were happy not in spite of their sadness but thanks to it. They were holding hands and both had the same image in their eyes: a limping dog who represented ten years of their lives.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

For a novelist, a given historic situation is an anthropologic laboratory in which he explores his basic question: What is human existence?

By Anonym 19 Sep

Milan Kundera

What could I say? Maybe this: the man hunched over his motorcycle can focus only on the present instant of his flight; he is caught in a fragment of time cut off from both the past and the future; he is wrenched from the continuity of time; he is outside time; in other words, he is in a state of ecstasy; in that state he is unaware of his age, his wife, his children, his worries, and so he has no fear, because the source of fear is in the future, and a person freed of the future has nothing to fear.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

nothing yet. I've been waiting." "for what?" she made no response. she could not tell him that she had been waiting for him.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

The serial number of a human specimen is the face, that accidental and unrepeatable combination of features. It reflects neither character nor soul, nor what we call the self. The face is only the serial number of a specimen

By Anonym 18 Sep

Milan Kundera

The cemetery was vanity transmogrified into stone. Instead of growing more sensible in death, the inhabitants of the cemetery were sillier than they had been in life.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

Leroy interrupted Chantal's fantasies: "Freedom? As you live our your desolation, you can be either unhappy or happy. Having that choice is what constitutes your freedom. You're free to melt your own individuality into the cauldron of the multitude either with a feeling of defeat or euphoria.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

given the nature of the human couple, the love of a man and a woman is a priori inferior to that which can exist (at least in the best instances) in the love between man and dog...It is a completely selfless love.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Milan Kundera

The novel has accompanied man uninterruptedly and faithfully since the beginning of the Modern Era. It was then that the "passion to know," which Husserl considered the essence of European spirituality, seized the novel and led it to scrutinize man's concrete life and protect it against "the forgetting of being"; to hold "the world of life" under a permanent light. That is the sense in which I understand and share Hermann Broch's insistence in repeating: The sole raison d'etre of a novel is to discover what only the novel can discover. A novel that does not discover a hitherto unknown segment of existence is immoral. Knowledge is the novel's only morality.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

What is unique about the "I" hides itself exactly in what is unimaginable about a person. All we are able to imagine is what makes everyone like everyone else, what people have in common. The individual "I" is what differs from the common stock, that is, what cannot be guessed at or calculated, what must be unveiled, uncovered, conquered.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

we might also call vertigo the intoxication of the weak. aware of his weakness, a man decides to give in rather than stand up to it. he is drunk with weakness, wishes to grow even weaker, wishes to fall down in the middle of the main square in front of everybody, wishes to be down, lower than down.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

Two people in love, alone, isolated from the world, that's beautiful.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

The important thing is to abide by the rule of threes. Either you see a woman three times in quick succession and then never again, or you maintain relations over the years but make sure that the rendezvous are at least three weeks apart.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

He Kept recalling her lying on his bed; she reminded him of no one in his former life.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

she loved to walk down the street with a book under her arm. It had the same significance for her as an elegant cane for the dandy a century ago. It differentiated her from others.

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 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

Fidelity gives a unity to lives that would otherwise splinter into thousands of split-second impressions.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

For everyone is pained by the thought of disappearing, unheard and unseen, into an indifferent universe, and because of that everyone wants, while there is still time, to turn himself into a universe of words.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

The beauty of New York is unintentional; it arose independent of human design, like a stalagmite cavern.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Milan Kundera

En griego, «regreso» se dice nostos. Algos significa “sufrimiento”. La nostalgia es, pues, el sufrimiento causado por el deseo incumplido de regresar. La mayoría de los europeos puede emplear para esta noción fundamental una palabra de origen griego (nostalgia) y, además, otras palabras con raíces en la lengua nacional: en español decimos “añoranza”; en portugués, saudade. En cada lengua estas palabras poseen un matiz semántico distinto. Con frecuencia tan sólo significan la tristeza causada por la imposibilidad de regresar a la propia tierra. Morriña del terruño. Morriña del hogar. En inglés sería homesickness, o en alemán Heimweh, o en holandés heimwee. Pero es una reducción espacial de esa gran noción. El islandés, una de las lenguas europeas más antiguas, distingue claramente dos términos: söknudur: nostalgia en su sentido general; y heimfra: morriña del terruño. Los checos, al lado de la palabra “nostalgia” tomada del griego, tienen para la misma noción su propio sustantivo: stesk, y su propio verbo; una de las frases de amor checas más conmovedoras es styska se mi po tobe: “te añoro; ya no puedo soportar el dolor de tu ausencia”. En español, “añoranza” proviene del verbo “añorar”, que proviene a su vez del catalán enyorar, derivado del verbo latino ignorare (ignorar, no saber de algo). A la luz de esta etimología, la nostalgia se nos revela como el dolor de la ignorancia. Estás lejos, y no sé qué es de ti. Mi país queda lejos, y no sé qué ocurre en él. Algunas lenguas tienen alguna dificultad con la añoranza: los franceses sólo pueden expresarla mediante la palabra de origen griego (nostalgie) y no tienen verbo; pueden decir: je m?ennuie de toi (equivalente a «te echo de menos» o “en falta”), pero esta expresión es endeble, fría, en todo caso demasiado leve para un sentimiento tan grave. Los alemanes emplean pocas veces la palabra “nostalgia” en su forma griega y prefieren decir Sehnsucht: deseo de lo que está ausente; pero Sehnsucht puede aludir tanto a lo que fue como a lo que nunca ha sido (una nueva aventura), por lo que no implica necesariamente la idea de un nostos; para incluir en la Sehnsucht la obsesión del regreso, habría que añadir un complemento: Senhsucht nach der Vergangenheit, nach der verlorenen Kindheit, o nach der ersten Liebe (deseo del pasado, de la infancia perdida o del primer amor).

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

Culture is perishing in overproduction, in an avalanche of words, in the madness of quantity.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Milan Kundera

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 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

A novel that does not uncover a hitherto unknown segment of existence is immoral. Knowledge is the novel's only morality.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Milan Kundera

an old villa surrounded by a garden looked to them like the image of a comforting home, the dream of an idyll long past.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

For the body is temporal and thought is eternal and the shimmering essence of flame is an image of thought.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

Bacon's portraits are an interrogation on the limits of the self. Up to what degree of distortion does an individual still remain himself? To what degree of distortion does a beloved person still remain a beloved person? For how long does a cherished face growing remote through illness, through madness, through hatred, through death still remain recognizable? Where is the border beyond which a self ceases to be a self?

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

Metaphors are dangerous. Love begins with a metaphor

By Anonym 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

People derived too much pleasure from seeing their fellow man morally humiliated to spoil that pleasure by hearing out an explanation.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Milan Kundera

A route differs from a road not only because it is solely intended for vehicles, but also because it is merely a line that connects one point with another. A route has no meaning in itself; its meaning derives entirely from the two points that it connects. A road is a tribute to space. Every stretch of road has meaning in itself and invites us to stop. A route is the triumphant devaluation of space, which thanks to it has been reduced to a mere obstacle to human movement and a waste of time.

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 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 14 Sep

Milan Kundera

People fascinated by the idea of progress never suspect that every step forward is also a step on the way to the end.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Milan Kundera

Every novel says to the reader: “Things are not as simple as you think.” That is the novel’s eternal truth, but it grows steadily harder to hear amid the din of easy, quick answers that come faster than the question and block it off. In the spirit of our time, it’s either Anna or Karenin who is right, and the ancient wisdom of Cervantes, telling us about the difficulty of knowing and the elusiveness of truth, seems cumbersome and useless.