Kundera Other Works

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  • Topic: Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Short story
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Other Works by Milan Kundera

Poetry
* Man: A Broad Garden, 1953
* The Last May, 1954-1955-1961
* a homage to Julius Fučík, the hero of communist resistance against the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia during the Second World War. The work conforms to the tenets of socialist realism and the strictly official communist version of history. * Monologues, 1957-1964-1965

* a collection of poems in which Kundera highlights betwen lovers. Here he rejects political propaganda and again stresses the importance of natural, ordinary, authentic human experience.

Plays
* The Owner of the Keys, 1962
* A young couple is sharing cramped apartment with in-laws during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. One morning, Jiří is contacted on the telephone by Věra, a woman whom he knew when he temporarily became involved with the communist resistance movement. Věra is on the run from the Gestapo and needs Jiří's help. Věra turns up in the flat and raises the suspicion of a Nazi concierge. Jiří is forced to kill him. He hides his dead body in the flat. Now it is necessary for everyone in the flat to run away, before the Gestapo arrives. But Jiří cannot tell his wife and her parents what has happened. Eventually, Jiří and Věra leave on their own, abandoning Alena and her parents to certain death. * Two Ears, Two Weddings (Slowness), 1968

* The Blunder, 1969
* Jaques and His Master, 1971 (Hommage to Diderot in 3 acts)

Fiction:
* The Joke, 1965
* In order to win a girl, a young communist student makes an innocent joke. Ludvík Jahn, frustrated by her absence, sends her a provocative postcard. The postcard gives rise to a witchhunt. Ludvík is expelled from the party, forced to leave university and ends up as a member of a penal army unit, working in the mines. Many years later, in the 1960s, Ludvík thinks an opportunity has arisen to revenge himself on a fellow student, Pavel Zemánek, the main perpetrator of his downfall. He seduces his wife, thus hoping to destroy their marriage. But Zemánek no longer lives with his wife and by seducing her, Ludvík Jahn actually helps him. Thus Ludvík realises that Man is never in control. There is no point in trying to revenge oneself. "Everything will be forgotten. There will never be any redress for anything." * Laughable Loves, 3 parts: 1963-1965-1968, complete 1969 * Life is Elsewhere, 1969/70

* a scathingly analytical account of the life of a fictitious young poet, Jaromil. Jaromil also cannot cope with reality. He escapes into the world of poetry. Yearning to become a part of community of active individuals, he is easily used by the Stalinist regime in Czechoslovakia after 1948. As a narcisist, he strives for fame and adopts his poetry to the official demands of the day. Self-centredness turns Jaromil into a monster. Soon thereafter, after an altercation at a party, acting like a spoilt child, Jaromil stays out on a balcony in a freezing weather, deliberately contracts pneumonia and dies a banal death. * The Farewell Waltz (earlier translation: Party), 1970/71 * The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, 1978

* At the beginning of the novel Mirek is looking for the letters he wrote to one of his lovers when he was a young man, so that he could destroy them and change the past. He, like a novelist, feels he is entitled to rewrite his own life. The Czech emigré Tamina, stranded in France, is on the other hand trying desperately and in vain to reclaim the letters she had written to her now dead husband in Prague while they were still living in there. She wants to be able to recreate the memories of her life with him, which are fading fast. * The Unbearable Lightness of Being, 1984

* Immortality, 1988
* a story of a French woman Agnes, born in the mind of the writer of an attractive, flirtatious feminine gesture, made at the beginning of the novel in the presence of the fictitious author by an old lady to a...
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