Literary Birthday – 1 April – Milan Kundera

Milan Kundera was born 1 April 1929 and died 11 July 2023.

10 Milan Kundera Quotes

  1. For a novelist, a given historic situation is an anthropologic laboratory in which he explores his basic question: What is human existence?
  2. The worth of a human being lies in the ability to extend oneself, to go outside oneself, to exist in and for other people.
  3. All great novels, all true novels, are bisexual.
  4. The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything.
  5. To be a writer does not mean to preach a truth, it means to discover a truth.
  6. There is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels for someone, for someone, pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.
  7. Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.
  8. Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.
  9. Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding.
  10. The light that radiates from the great novels time can never dim, for human existence is perpetually being forgotten by man and thus the novelists’ discoveries, however old they may be, will never cease to astonish.

Milan Kundera was the Czech Republic’s most recognised living writer. He lived in exile in France since 1975. Kundera’s best-known work is The Unbearable Lightness of Being. A perennial contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature, he was nominated on several occasions

Source for Image: Elisa Cabot, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 1st April 2013