Kundera, Milan 1929–

views updated

KUNDERA, Milan 1929–

PERSONAL: Born April 1, 1929, in Brno, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic); immigrated to France, 1975; naturalized French citizen, 1981; son of Ludvik (a pianist and musicologist) and Milada (Janosikova) Kundera; married Vera Hrabankova, September 30, 1967. Education: Studied music under Paul Haas and Vaclav Kapral; attended Charles University (Prague, Czechoslovakia), and Film Faculty, Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (Prague, Czechoslovakia), 1956.

ADDRESSES: Office—c/o École des Hautes Etudes, 54 Boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris, France.

CAREER: Writer. Worked as a laborer and jazz pianist in provincial Czechoslovakia; Film Faculty, Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Prague, Czechoslovakia, assistant professor, 1958–69; Université de Rennes II, Rennes, France, invited professor of comparative literature, 1975–79; École des Hautes Etudes, Paris, France, professor, 1980–.

MEMBER: Czechoslovak Writers Union (member of central committee, 1963–69), American Academy of Arts and Letters.

AWARDS, HONORS: Klement Lukes Prize, 1963, for Majitele klicu; Czechoslovak Writers Union prize, 1968, for Zert; Czechoslovak Writers' Publishing House prize, 1969, for Smesne lasky; Prix Medicis, 1973, for La vie est ailleurs; Premio Letterario Mondello, 1978, for The Farewell Party; Commonwealth Award for distinguished service in literature, 1981; Prix Europa for literature; honorary doctorate, University of Michigan, 1983; Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction, 1984, for The Unbearable Lightness of Being; Jerusalem Prize for Literature on the Freedom of Man in Society, 1985; finalist for Ritz Paris Hemingway Award, 1985; Academie Française critics prize, 1987; Nelly Sachs prize, 1987; Osterichischeve state prize, 1987; Independent Award for foreign fiction, 1991; Jaroslav-Seifert Prize, 1994, for Immortality; Czech Medal of Merit, 1995; Herder Prize, University of Vienna, 2000.



Zert, Ceskoslovensky Spisovatel (Prague, Czechoslovakia), 1967, translation by David Hamblyn and Oliver Stallybrass published as The Joke, Coward (New York, NY), 1969, new translation by Michael Henry Heim with author's preface, Harper (New York, NY), 1982, definitive English edition revised by Kundera, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.

La vie est ailleurs (French translation of the original Czech manuscript Zivot je jinde), Gallimard (Paris, France), 1973, translation from the original Czech manuscript by Peter Kussi published as Life Is Elsewhere, Knopf (New York, NY), 1974, Czech edition published by Sixty-Eight Publishers (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1979, definitive English edition revised by Kundera, Penguin, 1986, translation from the French by Aaron Asher, HarperPerennial (New York, NY), 1999.

La valse aux adieux (French translation of the original Czech manuscript Valcik na rozloucenou), Gallimard (Paris, France), 1976, translation by Peter Kussi published as The Farewell Party, Knopf (New York, NY), 1976, Czech editions published by Sixty-Eight Publishers (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1979, and Atlantis (Brno, Czech Republic), 1997), new translation by Aaron Asher based on Kundera's revised French translation published as Farewell Waltz: A Novel, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1998.

Le livre du rire et de l'oubli (French translation of the original Czech manuscript Kniha smichu a zapomneni), Gallimard (Paris, France), 1979, translation from the original Czech manuscript by Michael Henry Heim published as The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Knopf (New York, NY), 1980, published with an interview with Kundera by Philip Roth, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1981, new translation by Aaron Asher, HarperPerennial (New York, NY), 1996.

L'insoutenable l'egerete de l'etre (French translation of the original Czech manuscript Nesnesitelna lehkost byti), Gallimard (Paris France), 1984, translation from the original Czech by Michael Henry Heim published as The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Harper (New York, NY), 1984, Czech edition published by Sixty-Eight Publishers (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1985).

L'immortalite (French translation of the original Czech manuscript Nesmrtelnost), Gallimard (Paris, France), 1990, translation from the original Czech by Peter Kussi published as Immortality, Grove Weidenfeld (New York, NY), 1991, Czech edition published by Atlantis (Brno, Czech Republic), 1993).

La lnteur: roman, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1995, translation from the original French by Linda Asher published as Slowness: A Novel, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.

L'identite: roman, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1997, translation from the original French by Asher published as Identity: A Novel, HarperFlamingo (New York, NY), 1998.

Ignorance, translation from the original French by Linda Asher, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.


Clovek zahrada sira (poetry; title means "Man: A Broad Garden"), Ceskoslovensky Spisovatel, 1953.

Posledni maj (poetry; title means "The Last May"), Ceskoslovensky Spisovatel, 1955, revised edition, 1963.

Monology (poetry; title means "Monologues"), Ceskoslovensky Spisovatel, 1957, revised edition, 1964.

Umeni romanu: cesta Vladislava Vancury za velkou epikou (critical study of writer Vladislav Vancura; title means "The Art of the Novel: Vladislav Vancura's Road in Search of the Great Epic"), Ceskoslovensky Spisovatel, 1961, revised edition, HarperPerennial (New York, NY), 2000.

Majitele klicu (play; title means "The Owners of the Keys"; first produced in Prague, Czechoslovakia, at National Theatre, April, 1962), Orbis, 1962.

Smesne lasky: tri melancholicke anekdoty (short stories; title means "Laughable Loves: Three Melancholy Anecdotes"), Ceskoslovensky Spisovatel, 1963.

Druhy sesit smesnych lasek (short stories; title means "The Second Notebook of Laughable Loves"; also see below), Ceskoslovensky Spisovatel, 1965.

Dve usi dve svatby (play; title means "Two Ears and Two Weddings"), Dilia (Prague, Czechoslovakia), 1968.

Treti sesit smesnych lasek (short stories; title means "The Third Notebook of Laughable Loves"), Ceskoslovensky Spisovatel, 1968.

(With Jaromil Jires) The Joke (screenplay; based on Kundera's novel Zert), directed by Jaromil Jires, Smida-Fikar—Studio de Cinema de Barrandov, 1968.

Ptakovina (two-act play; title means "Cock-a-Doodle-Do"), first produced in Liberec, Czechoslovakia, at Divadlo F. X. Saldy, January, 1968.

Smesne lasky (selection by Kundera of eight of the short stories previously published in Smesne lasky: tri melancholicke anekdoty, Druhy sesit smesnych lasek, and Treti sesit smesnych lasek), Ceskoslovensky Spisovatel, 1970, translation by Suzanne Rappaport of seven of these stories (based on Kundera's selection for the French edition Risibles amours, Gallimard [Paris, France], 1970) with introduction by Philip Roth published as Laughable Loves, Knopf (New York, NY), 1974, definitive English edition revised by Kundera and translated by Suzanne Rappaport, Penguin (New York, NY), 1987.

Jacques et son maitre: Hommage à Denis Diderot (three-act play; French translation of the original Czech manuscript Jakub a jeho pan: pocta Denisi Diderotovi; first produced in Paris, France, at Theatre des Maturins, 1981), published with an introduction by the author, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1981, translation from the original Czech by Michael Henry Heim published as Jacques and His Master: An Homage to Diderot in Three Acts (produced in Cambridge, MA, at American Repertory Theatre, January, 1985), Harper (New York, NY), 1985, translation by Simon Callow produced as Jacques and His Master in Toronto, Canada, at Free Theatre, May 14, 1987, Czech edition published by Atlantis (Brno, Czechoslovakia), 1992.

L'art du roman: essai, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1986, translation from the original French by Linda Asher published as The Art of the Novel, Grove (New York, NY), 1988.

Les Testaments trahis (essay), Gallimard (Paris, France), 1993, translation from the original French by Asher published as Testaments Betrayed: An Essay in Nine Parts, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1995.

Contributor to periodicals, including translated articles and essays, to New York Times Book Review, New York Review of Books, Harper's Review of Contemporary Fiction, Times Literary Supplement, Cross Currents, New Yorker, and New Republic. Member of editorial board of Literarni noviny, 1963–67 and 1968, and of Literarni listy, 1968–69.

Kundera's works have been translated into numerous languages, including German, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Serbian, Slovene, Greek, Turkish, Hebrew, and Japanese.

ADAPTATIONS: The Unbearable Lightness of Being was adapted for film, written by Philip Kaufman and Jean-Claude Carriere, directed by Kaufman, and released by Orion, 1988.

SIDELIGHTS: Milan Kundera, a Czech-born novelist now living in France, "is one of the finest and most consistently interesting novelists in Europe and America," wrote Richard Locke in the Washington Post Book World. Writing from experience, Kundera "has brought Eastern Europe to the attention of the Western reading public, and he has done so with insights that are universal in their appeal," noted Olga Carlisle in the New York Times Magazine. His novels, according to David Lodge in the Times Literary Supplement, investigate "with a bold combination of abstraction, sensuality and wit, the problematic interrelationship of sex, love, death and the ultimate mystery of being itself."

Kundera began writing his first novel, Zert (The Joke), in 1962 during a time of political turmoil. He submitted it to a Prague publisher in December 1965, but they would not publish it because it was "diametrically opposed to the official ideology," Kundera explained in the preface to the 1982 edition of The Joke. But Kundera had held firm against the demands of government censors, and, finally, in 1967 the novel was published, unchanged. "Three editions of The Joke appeared in quick succession and incredibly large printings, and each sold out in a matter of days," the author recalled. During the enlightened Prague Spring of 1968, a time when Czechoslovakia was rediscovering its cultural freedom and writers were held in high esteem, Milan Kundera was one of the major literary figures of the day.

Within four months, however, Czechoslovakia was invaded by troops from the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany, Hungary, and Bulgaria. During the next few years, Kundera's books were removed from libraries and bookstores, his plays were banned, and he lost his job and his right to work and publish in Czechoslovakia. At first, he was also forbidden to travel in the West, but finally in 1975 he was permitted to accept a teaching position in Rennes, France. Four years later, after the publication of Le livre du rire et de l'oubli (The Book of Laughter and Forgetting), the Czechoslovak government revoked his citizenship. Silenced in Czechoslovakia immediately after the invasion, Kundera became a writer without an audience. He did write two novels that were published in translation abroad, but not until he had settled in France did he feel at home with this new audience.

While growing up in Czechoslovakia, Kundera witnessed the dismemberment of a young republic by Nazis in search of lebensraum, or living space. He also witnessed the postwar political purges. Then, in the rise of Communism, he had found the promise of better times; but the promise was broken after the Communist coup of 1948. "I was nineteen," he wrote in the New York Times Book Review. "I learned about fanaticism, dogmatism, and political trials through bitter experience; I learned what it meant to be intoxicated by power, be repudiated by power, feel guilty in the face of power and revolt against it." Twenty years later, he saw another promise crushed, this time by invading Soviet tanks.

As a writer, Kundera is fascinated by the individual's struggle against power, and this conflict emerges as a central theme of his novels. Power—sterile, serious, focused on the future—dominates his public world and strives to rob the individual of authority, understanding, and history, absorbing him into "the people." Kundera believes that the small world of intimate life is the only refuge available. As he told Philip Roth in the Village Voice, "Intimate life [is] understood as one's personal secret, as something valuable, inviolable, the basis of one's originality." Here, to a small degree, the individual can attempt to exercise his freedom and react against the state. Through eroticism, humor, and memory, Kundera's characters make their stand in the face of power. By setting in opposition eroticism and sterility, humor and seriousness, memory and forgetting, Kundera "discovers" the variations of his central theme.

The dangers of a world lacking a sense of humor are evident in The Joke. Having missed an opportunity to cultivate his desire for Marketa because of her choice to attend a Party training session, Ludvik responds to her enthusiastic letters with a spiteful joke, written on a postcard: "Optimism is the opium of the people! A healthy atmosphere stinks of stupidity! Long live Trotsky!" But members of the power structure have no appreciation of jokes. His comrades learn of the card and expel him from the Party and the university. He is banished to work the provincial coal mines. Years later, his revenge, an "erotic power play, is thwarted, and turns into yet another joke at his expense," wrote Roth in Reading Myself and Others.

In The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Kundera presents the image of poet Paul Eluard dancing in a circle lifted aloft by a girl laughing the laughter of angels. In 1950, Eluard was called upon by Dada-founding poet Andre Breton to help save their mutual friend Zavis Kalandra from hanging. (Kalandra, a Prague surrealist, had been accused by the Stalinists of betraying the people.) "But Eluard was too busy dancing in the gigantic ring encircling Paris, Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, Sofia, and Athens, encircling all the socialist countries and all the Communist parties of the world; too busy reciting his beautiful poems about joy and brotherhood," Kundera writes in his novel. As a poet himself during this period, Kundera told Antonin J. Liehm in The Politics of Culture, "I got a close look at poets who adorned things that weren't worth it, and am still able to remember vividly this state of passionate lyrical enthusiasm which, getting drunk on its frenzy, is unable to see the real world through its own grandiose haze." In Czechoslovakia, where poetry is the preferred literary form, he added, "on the other side of the wall behind which people were jailed and tormented, Gullibility, Ignorance, Childishness, and Enthusiasm blithely promenaded in the sun." "Milan Kundera," noted Neal Ascherson in the New York Review of Books, "who made his own transition from poetry to novel-writing, is one of the deadliest exponents of the argument that [there] have been too many poets, too few novelists: too much romantic narcissism and too little sober illustration of what is within the capacity of the human animal and what is not."

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting was published five years after Kundera's flight to France. Because of this, some critics viewed his work in the context of exile literature. In Elaine Kendall's estimation, "The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is a model of the exile's novel: bittersweet and sardonic but somehow neither corrosive nor sentimental." She added in her Los Angeles Times review that "Kundera deals in the gradual erosions of totalitarianism: the petty indignities, the constant discomforts and the everyday disillusions."

The book "calls itself a novel," wrote John Leonard in the New York Times, "although it is part fairy tale, part literary criticism, part political tract, part musicology and part autobiography. It can call itself whatever it wants to, because the whole is genius." Norman Podhoretz related his response to the book in an open letter to Kundera printed in Commentary: "What compelled me most when I first opened [it] was not its form or its aesthetic character but its intellectual force, the astonishing intelligence controlling and suffusing every line." New York Review of Books contributor Robert M. Adams spotlighted Kundera's control when he noted, "Again and again, in this artfully artless book an act or gesture turns imperceptibly into its exact opposite—a circle of unity into a circle of exclusion, playful children into cruel monsters, a funeral into a farce, freedom into lockstep, nudity into a disguise, laughter into sadism, poetry into political machinery, artificial innocence into cynical exploitation. These subtle transformations and unemphasized points of distant correspondence are the special privileges of a meticulously crafted fiction." Concluded Adams, "That a book which combines so delicately dry wit and a deep sense of humanity should cause the author to be deprived of his citizenship is one more of the acute ironies of our time."

First published in French as L'insoutenable l'egerete de l'etre, The Unbearable Lightness of Being focuses on the connected lives of two couples—Tomas and Tereza, and Franz and Sabina. Set in Czechoslovakia around the time of the Russian invasion, this work is often considered an examination of the hardships and limitations that can result from commitment and the meaninglessness of life without such responsibility. In his review of The Unbearable Lightness of Being in the Times Literary Supplement, David Lodge described the relationship between the intimate concerns of the individual and the larger concerns of politics in Kundera's world, saying that "although the characters' lives are shaped by political events, they are not determined by them. Tereza and Tomas return to Czechoslovakia for emotional, not ideological reasons. He refuses to retract his article not as a courageous act of political defiance, but more out of bloody-mindedness and complicated feelings about his son, who is involved in the dissident movement." As Richard Eder observed in the Los Angeles Times, "For the most part, The Unbearable Lightness of Being succeeds remarkably in joining a series of provocative and troubling speculations about human existence to characters that charm and move us." He added, "Kundera leads us captivatingly into the bleakness of our days." "Often witty, sometimes terrifying and always profound, Kundera brings genuine wisdom to his novels at a time when many of his fellow practitioners of the craft aspire only to cleverness," concluded Ian Pearson in Maclean's.

Published in English in 1988 as The Art of the Novel, L'art du roman: essai contains three essays, two interviews, Kundera's acceptance speech for the Jerusalem prize, and the definitions of sixty-three words Kundera believes are frequently mistranslated. In the essays Kundera traces the development of the European novel. Although most critics praise Kundera's belief that the novel is a "sequence of discoveries," they also accuse him of being arrogant and ethnocentric for his failure to consider any works by non-European or women writers. Terrence Rafferty, in the New Yorker, noted that "Kundera's polemical fervor in The Art of the Novel annoys us, as American readers, because we feel defensive, excluded from the transcendent 'idea of the novel' that for him seems simply to have been there for the taking." Kundera states in the work, "Need I stress that I intend no theoretical statement at all, and that the entire book is simply a practitioner's confession? Every novelist's work contains an implicit vision of the history of the novel, an idea of what the novel is: I have tried to express here the idea of the novel that is inherent in my own novels." Kundera continues his exploration of the novel in his Testaments Betrayed: An Essay in Nine Parts, which traces the evolution of the novel from Francois Rabelais to Franz Kafka and relates literature to music.

Kundera's novel Immortality, originally published as L'immortalite, is his first to be set in France. In this work, Kundera examines how media manipulation, popular culture, and capitalist technocracy have developed into instruments of propaganda that distort mankind's perception of reality. In addition to discussing the love triangles between Agnes, her husband Paul, and Agnes's sister, Laura, Immortality contains episodes from the lives of such literary figures as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Ernest Hemingway. While Kundera has consistently won praise for juxtaposing fictitious and biographical elements and simultaneously exploring recurring themes, some critics faulted Immortality for its disjointed plot and episodic characterizations. Jonathan Yardley, writing in the Washington Post Book World, noted that while "Immortality is ingenious, witty, provocative, and formidably intelligent," it, unlike the best of Kundera's earlier novels, "is all talk and no story." D. M. Thomas, however, wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "Immortality is certainly a daunting novel: almost devoid of the good-natured or ill-tempered bustle of ordinary humanity … and yet the novel fascinates."

First appearing in French as La lnteur: roman, Kundera's 1996 novel, Slowness, ostensibly concerns "the failure of our speed-obsessed age to appreciate the delights of slowness (in lovemaking, in travel, in the rituals of daily life)," commented Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times. But, she continued, Slowness "is really concerned with the storytelling process itself, with the means by which the facts of real life are turned into fiction, the means by which people sell one version of themselves to the world, to friends, to lovers and to political rivals." Like other Kundera novels, Slowness does not employ a traditional narrative structure, juxtaposing different stories and characters connected by a central theme. Fredric Koeppel, in the Detroit News, commented that "Kundera carries his tangled tales off with wisdom, sweetness and wit that permeate each word and sentence." Kakutani claimed that, in Kundera's earlier works, humor and sex were "wonderfully anarchic," but in Slowness, his "humor has turned sour: it's no longer a gesture of liberation; it's become a symptom of weariness and cynicism." Koeppel offered a different opinion, however, finding that "Kundera handles his material with a lightness which, far from being unbearable, sparkles with the deftness of a magician shuffling cards for our delectation and mystification."

Another of Kundera's novels with a one-word title, Ignorance, is set in 1989, and it finds two middle-aged émigrés, Irena and Josef, meeting after many years as they make their way back to Prague, she from Paris and he from Denmark, after nearly thirty years in exile. Irena remembers Josef as the young man who tried to seduce her decades ago, an event that is destined to be repeated, and Josef, who has no memory of the incident, pretends that he does remember her. The story opens with Irena being urged by her friend Sylvie to go home, and she agrees to return with her lover Gustaf, a Swede who has a business in Prague. Josef is returning because it was the wish of his now-deceased wife, and becomes excited about the idea of having sex with Irena, who sees him as a possible escape from Gustaf and her family. Other characters include Milada, a former girlfriend of Josef, and Irena's sexy mother, who ends up bedding Gustaf. James Wood reviewed Ignorance in New Republic, commenting that "some of their encounters are mildly comic, and the book ends, in the familiar Kundera fashion, with a wild and supposedly comic erotic reckoning. Around these slim sketchy, almost hypothetical scenes, a witty essayistic voice theorizes: about the etymology of the word 'nostalgia,' about Odysseus returning from long exile to Ithaca, about the modest but passionate nationalism of the Czech people." The Spectator's Robert Edric wrote that Ignorance "explores the concepts of émigré longing, of nostalgia, homesickness, and the reinvention of the lives of people caught up in events beyond their control. As in all of Kundera's work, there can never be any doubt that the narrator of events is Kundera himself, and that, in a Beckettian sense, the teller and the tale are indivisible, meaningless, one without the other."

Since losing his Czech home, audience, and citizenship, Kundera has found each in France. He told Roth in the Village Voice that "the years in France have been the best years of my life." Moreover, as Edmund White commented in the Nation, "Kundera—despite his irony, his abiding suspicion of any cant, any uniformity of opinion and especially of kitsch—is currently the favored spokesman for the uneasy conscience of the French intellectual." But Kundera understands the laughable nature of fame. He said in the Village Voice interview: "When I was a little boy in short pants I dreamed about a miraculous ointment that would make me invisible. Then I became an adult, began to write, and wanted to be successful. Now I'm successful and would like to have the ointment that would make me invisible."



Aji, Aron, editor, Milan Kundera and the Art of Fiction: Critical Essays, Garland Publishing (New York, NY), 1992.

Banerjee, Maria Nemcove, Terminal Paradox: The Novels of Milan Kundera, Grove (New York, NY), 1990.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 4, 1975, Volume 9, 1978, Volume 19, 1981, Volume 32, 1985, Volume 68, 1991, Volume 115, 1999, Volume 135, 2001.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 232: Twentieth-Century Eastern European Writers, Third Series, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.

Dolezel, Lubomir, Narrative Modes in Czech Literature, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1973.

French, A., Czech Writers and Politics, 1945–1969, East European Monographs, 1982.

Encyclopedia of World Literature in the Twentieth Century, Volume 2, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999, pp. 678-679.

Goetz-Stankiewicz, Marketa, The Silenced Theatre: Czech Playwrights without a Stage, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1979.

Gopinathan Pillai, C., The Political Novels of Milan Kundera and O. V. Vijayan: A Comparative Study, Prestige, 1996.

Kundera, Milan, Laughable Loves, translation by Suzanne Rappaport with introduction by Philip Roth, Knopf (New York, NY), 1974.

Kundera, Milan, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, translation by Michael Henry Heim published with an interview with the author by Philip Roth, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1981.

Kundera, Milan, The Joke, translation by Michael Henry Heim with author's preface, Harper (New York, NY), 1982.

Liehm, Antonin J., The Politics of Culture, translation from the Czech by Peter Kussi, Grove (New York, NY), 1972.

Misurella, Fred, Understanding Milan Kundera: Public Events, Private Affairs, University of South Carolina Press (Columbia, SC), 1993.

O'Brien, John, Milan Kundera and Feminism: Dangerous Intersections, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1995.

Petro, Peter, editor, Critical Essays on Milan Kundera, Twayne, 1999.

Porter, Robert, Milan Kundera: A Voice from Central Europe, Arkona (Denmark), 1981.

Roth, Philip, Reading Myself and Others, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1975.

South Slavic and Eastern European Writers, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2000.

Trensky, Paul I., Czech Drama since World War II, M. E. Sharpe, 1978.

Zeman, Z. A. B., Prague Spring, Hill & Wang (New York, NY), 1969.


Book, September-October, 2002, Tom Leclair, review of Ignorance, p. 75.

Commentary, December, 1980; October, 1984.

Commonweal, May 18, 1984; June 2, 1989, pp. 339-341.

Contemporary Literature, fall, 1990, pp. 281-299.

Critical Quarterly, spring-summer, 1984.

Detroit News, July 20, 1996, p. D30.

Dissent, winter, 1983.

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), April 28, 1984.

Hudson Review, winter, 1995, p. 616.

Library Journal, October 15, 2002, Christopher Tinney, review of Ignorance, p. 94.

London Review of Books, December 4, 1986, pp. 10, 12; June 13, 1991, pp. 13-14.

Los Angeles Times, January 5, 1981; May 2, 1984.

Maclean's, May 14, 1984.

Nation, August 28, 1967; November 6, 1967; August 26, 1968; September 18, 1976; October 2, 1976; May 12, 1984; June 10, 1991, pp. 770-775.

National Review, March 20, 1981; January 21, 1983.

New Criterion, January, 1986, pp. 5-13.

New Republic, May 18, 1968; September 6, 1975; February 14, 1983; July 29, 1991, pp. 36-39; December 23, 2002, James Wood, review of Ignorance, p. 33.

New Statesman, November 4, 2002, Hugo Barnacle, review of Ignorance, p. 52.

Newsweek, July 29, 1974; November 24, 1980; November 8, 1982; April 30, 1984; February 4, 1985; November 11, 2002, Andrew Nagorski, review of Ignorance, p. 70.

New Yorker, May 16, 1988, pp. 110, 113-118.

New York Review of Books, May 21, 1970; August 8, 1974; September 16, 1976, February 5, 1981; May 10, 1984.

New York Times, November 6, 1980; January 18, 1982; April 2, 1984; December 17, 1992, p. C18; September 21, 1995; May 14, 1996, p. B2.

New York Times Book Review, January 11, 1970; July 28, 1974; September 5, 1976; November 30, 1980; October 24, 1982; April 29, 1984; January 6, 1985; April 28, 1991, p. 7; October 6, 2002, Maureen Howard, review of Ignorance, p. 38.

New York Times Magazine, May 19, 1985.

Paris Review, summer, 1984.

Partisan Review, Volume 11, 1985; Volume 17, 1985.

Publishers Weekly, July 24, 1995, p. 54; August 26, 2002, review of Ignorance, p. 38.

Review of Contemporary Fiction (issue devoted to Kundera and Zulfikar Ghose), summer, 1989.

Salmagundi (issue devoted to Kundera), winter, 1987.

San Francisco Review, spring, 1991, pp. 6, 12.

Saturday Review, December 20, 1969.

Spectator, June 10, 1978; February 13, 1982; June 23, 1984; November 22, 1986, pp. 38-39; October 19, 2002, Robert Edric, review of Ignorance, p. 50.

Time, August 5, 1974.

Times (London, England), February 17, 1983; May 24, 1984.

Times Literary Supplement, October 30, 1969; March 3, 1978; July 21, 1978; February 5, 1982; May 25, 1984; January 16, 1987, p. 55; May 17, 1991, p. 17.

Village Voice, December 24, 1980; November 23, 1982; June 26, 1984; March 29, 1988, p. 70.

Voice Literary Supplement, November, 1983.

Washington Post, November 22, 1980.

Washington Post Book World, December 19, 1982; April 22, 1984; May 5, 1991, p. 3.

World Literature Today, spring, 1983.