Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kundera, along with other Czech artists and writers such as Václav Havel, was involved in the 1968 Prague Spring, the brief period of reformist optimism that was eventually crushed by pro-Soviet forces. In his first book, The Joke, he gave a satirical account of the nature of totalitarianism in the Communist era.
Because of his criticism of the Soviets and their 1968 invasion of his homeland, Kundera was black-listed and his works were banned shortly after the Soviet invasion. In 1975, Kundera fled to France. There he wrote The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, (1979) which told of Czech citizens opposing the Soviet regime in various ways. A strange mixture of a novel, a short story collection and a group of the author's musings, the book set the tone for his post-exile works.
In 1984, he released The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which is his most popular work. The book chronicled the life of a Czech couple's difficulties adjusting to life with each other and to the Soviet occupation. In 1988, American director Philip Kaufman released a moderately successful film version of the novel.
In 1990, Kundera released Immortality. The novel, his first written in French, was more cosmopolitan than his others with a more explicit philosophical (and less political) content and would set the tone for his later novels.
Kundera has repeatedly insisted that he be considered a novelist in general rather than a political or dissident writer; political commentary has all but disappeared from his novels (starting specifically from The Book of Laughter and Forgetting) except in relation to broader philosophical themes.
- The Joke (1967; Eng. trans., 1982)
- Laughable Loves, a collection of short stories originally published in the 1960s (Eng. trans., 1974)
- The Farewell Party, 1976
- The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979; Eng. trans., 1980)
- Life Is Elsewhere (1969; Eng. trans., 1974)
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984; Eng. trans., 1984). (film )
- Jacques and His Master
- Immortality , 1990
- Slowness, 1994
- Identity, 1998
- Farewell Waltz, 1998
- Ignorance , 2000
- www.kundera.de is a useful jumping-off point for information about Kundera
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