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 :: 1929-, Czech Author, Critic

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A gesture cannot be regarded as the expression of an individual, as his creation (because no individual is capable of creating a fully original gesture, belonging to nobody else), nor can it even be regarded as that person's instrument; on the contrary, it is gestures that use us as their instruments, as their bearers and incarnations.
~ Milan Kundera - [Individuality]

 

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A novel that does not uncover a hitherto unknown segment of existence is immoral. Knowledge is the novel's only morality.
~ Milan Kundera - [Fiction]

 

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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.
~ Milan Kundera - [Travel and Tourism]

 

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A wave of anger washed over me, anger against myself, at my age at the time, that stupid lyrically age, when a man is too great a riddle to himself to be interested in the riddles outside himself and when other people are mere walking mirrors in which he is amazed to find his own emotions, his own worth.
~ Milan Kundera - [Anger]

 

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A worker may be the hammer's master, but the hammer still prevails. A tool knows exactly how it is meant to be handled, while the user of the tool can only have an approximate idea.
~ Milan Kundera - [Tools]

 

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All great novels, all true novels, are bisexual.
~ Milan Kundera - [Fiction]

 

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Eroticism is like a dance: one always leads the other.
~ Milan Kundera - [Eroticism]

 

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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 - [Literature]

 

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Happiness is the longing for repetition.
~ Milan Kundera - [Happiness]

 

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High culture is nothing but a child of that European perversion called history, the obsession we have with going forward, with considering the sequence of generations a relay race in which everyone surpasses his predecessor, only to be surpassed by his successor. Without this relay race called history there would be no European art and what characterizes it: a longing for originality, a longing for change. Robespierre, Napoleon, Beethoven, Stalin, Picasso, they're all runners in the relay race, they all belong to the same stadium.
~ Milan Kundera - [Culture]

 

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I think, therefore I am is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches.
~ Milan Kundera - [Intelligence and Intellectuals]

 

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Let us consider the critic, therefore, as a discoverer of discoveries.
~ Milan Kundera - [Critics and Criticism]

 

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Listening to a news broadcast is like smoking a cigarette and crushing the butt in the ashtray.
~ Milan Kundera - [News]

 

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Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.
~ Milan Kundera - [Animals]

 

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Mysticism and exaggeration go together. A mystic must not fear ridicule if he is to push all the way to the limits of humility or the limits of delight.
~ Milan Kundera - [Mystics and Mysticism]

 

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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 - [Ridicule]

 

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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 - [Human Fellowship]

 

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Nudity is the uniform of the other side... nudity is a shroud.
~ Milan Kundera - [Nudity]

 

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Optimism is the opium of the people.
~ Milan Kundera - [Optimism]

 

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People are always shouting they want to create a better future. It's not true. The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past.
~ Milan Kundera - [Future]

 

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