Milan Kundera

(1929 / Brno)

Milan Kundera Quotes

  • ''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.''
    Milan Kundera (b. 1929), Czech author, critic. Agnes, in Immortality, pt. 1, ch. 7 (1991).
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  • ''The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but the ignominy, the humiliation we feel that we must be what we are without any choice in the matter, and that this humiliation is seen by everyone.''
    Milan Kundera (b. 1929), Czech author, critic. Immortality, pt. 5, ch. 12 (1991).
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  • ''I think, therefore I am is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches.''
    Milan Kundera (b. 1929), Czechosolvakian author, critic. Immortality, pt. 4, ch. 11 (1991).
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  • ''If we cannot accept the importance of the world, which considers itself important, if in the midst of that world our laughter finds no echo, we have but one choice: to take the world as a whole and make it the object of our game; to turn it into a toy.''
    Milan Kundera (b. 1929), Czech author, critic. Immortality, pt. 7, ch. 5 (1991).
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  • ''Solitude: a sweet absence of looks.''
    Milan Kundera (b. 1929), Czech author, critic. Immortality, pt. 1, ch. 6 (1991).
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  • ''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.''
    Milan Kundera (b. 1929), Czech author, critic. Immortality, pt. 1, ch. 3 (1991).
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  • ''Hate traps us by binding us too tightly to our adversary.''
    Milan Kundera (b. 1929), Czechoslovakian author, critic. Immortality, pt. 1, ch. 5 (1991).
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  • ''No great movement designed to change the world can bear to be laughed at or belittled. Mockery is a rust that corrodes all it touches.''
    Milan Kundera (b. 1929), Czech author, critic. Kostka, in The Joke, ch. 18, pt. 6 (1967, trans. 1982).
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  • ''For a novelist, a given historic situation is an anthropologic laboratory in which he explores his basic question: What is human existence?''
    Milan Kundera (b. 1929), Czechoslovakian author, critic. (First published 1973). Life Is Elsewhere, postscript (1986).
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  • ''Nothing is more repugnant to me than brotherly feelings grounded in the common baseness people see in one another.''
    Milan Kundera (b. 1929), Czech author, critic. Ludvik, in The Joke, pt. 3, ch. 9 (1967, trans. 1982).
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