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The Joker’s Loneliness & Exile

April 1st, 2009

“The Joke”, was his first novel. Milan Kundera was born on April 1 on April fool’s day.

Happy Birthday milan4Milan Kundera!

Eternal exile of Milan Kundera

The famed author’s life has mirrored that of his most famous emigre character.

Coetzee, Gordimer, Pamuk, Roth, Marquez: Leave Milan Kundera Alone

Eleven writers including South African Nobel Laureates JM Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer have signed a letter in support of Milan Kundera. Kundera has been the centre of controversy following allegations that he had denounced a western spy to the communist authorities in Czechoslovakia in 1950.

Kundera on History of Art

Applied to art, the notion of history has nothing to do with progress; it does not imply improvement, amelioration, an ascent; it resembles a journey undertaken to explore unknown lands and chart them. The novelist’s ambition is not to do something better than his predecessors but to see what they did not see, say what they did not say. Flaubert’s poetics does not devalue Balzac’s, any more than the discovery of the North Pole renders obsolete the discovery of America.

simon4
Simon Evans is a former pro-skateboarder and a writer.
See his exhibition - Island Time
See more paintings by Simon Evans….
His Color Wheel <> <> School of Green Grocer <> <> Everything I have <>

  • Link to Clown Family! Happy April Fool’s Day

  • Milan Kundera

    October 19th, 2008

    milankundera1
    Milan Kundera

    This must be the time of Prague Fall as the memory of Prague Spring has become murkier and distorted.
    Accusation Against Writer Reopens Traumas of Czech Past (NYtimes)
    A friend who knew Milan Kundera for 50 years said,

    Milan was always introspective — he was not a fanatical Communist, and I completely exclude that he could have denounced someone in this way,” Mr. Pondelicek said. “It just does not match his pattern of behavior.”

    Milan is a writer and his writings should speak for us. (Though some like Ed Champion is ready to say that Kundera is overrated)
    Here are some samples.
    Milan Kundera on Francis Bacon (from Hypergraphia – For Tate)

    Milan Kundera on Ecstacy

    Jtwine on Milan Kundera

    I always think of one of his quotes:” kitsch is the absolute denial of shit.” I like that a lot.

    (Check Jurgen’s neat photos and Fassbinder video at FSFS – fear should fall short – Shark fin project Merde, I got enough of celebrity-art-talk now.)

    Swimming Pools in Milan Kundera’s novels by Jorn Boisen

    Maria from Mexico commenting, (from Prague Life)

    I teach literature in Mexico. My high school students have loved “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”. I just want to say that Sabina´s longing of the two lighted windows has haunted me always as well as her despair. Thomas, Teresa, and Sabina are some of the most memorable characters of all times. To have a bunch of Mexican 17 year olds thinking this is their favorite novel of all times is the best reward an author could have.

    Four Milan Kundera related youtube samples
    Elas – a video animation from Brazil – based on Unbearable Lightness of Being

    (repost from last year Halloween)

    2) The Unbearable Lightness of Being on Tube (a cute youtube experiment)

    3) A reader put his enthusiastic review of the Unbearable Lightness of Being on youtube- “Incredible”.

    4) A funny clip of Milan Kundera sitting on an inflated plastic chair answering in French, rocking himself uncomfortably. (1968) (Youtube)

    Life is Elsewhere

    April 11th, 2005

    Life is Elsewhere Praha Man
    The above image is a photo collage of an outdoor art installation from a street near Malostranska station in Prague. The statue of Sigmund Freud hanging by one hand by David Cerny – Czech Sculptor.

    Milan Kundera who wrote “The Joke” was born on April’s Fool day. Here is a belated acknowledgemnt for this Parisian Czech writer. He now writes in French and lives in Paris, for which the Czech people have felt betrayed augmenting their sense of national/cultural insecurity.
    (Kafka is a German Jew who was bilingual but did not write in Czech. Though Kafka is intimately linked to Prague as no other writer, not even Rilke who was born in Prague). Then there is Havel but he became the figurehead Politician ( still admired and loved. )
    Kundera, in Life is Elsewhere, uses a quote from Rimbaud as his title.
    “Life is Elsewhere” is a celebrated sentence of Rimbaud. It is cited by Andre Breton at the conclusion of his Surrealist Manifesto. In May 1968, Paris Students scribbled it on the walls of the Sorbonne as their slogan. But the original title of my novel was ‘The Lyrical Age.” I changed it at the last moment when I saw anxiety on the faces of my publishers, who doubted anyone would buy a book with such an abstruse title.” (From Preface of the Novel Life is Elswhere).
    He wrote very fine essays in his “The Art of Novel”. A good interview on him, here.

    Gravity, Grace and the Unbearable Light Beans is a phrase I have
    used in my email headings in honor of Milan Kundera and javascript that my collaboraters have used.
    Fiona Tan fiona tan
    The above image by Fiona Tan, Indonesian born international artist.

    Elswhere
    , next Life from the team of the Last life in the Universe, from Bangkok post here

  • Click to see large

    Paris Review Milan Kundera interview

  • Elsewhere……………..
    “Leading Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang teams up once more with Japanese cult actor Asano Tadanobu on another bizarre movie-making mission”
    “The movie, instead, represents a liberal attitude towards the way a film can be made, where the nationality of the director is not its sole cultural influence, while the marketing effort is engineered to catch the attention not of any particular nation but perhaps of the world.”
    The guest star Takashi Miike arrived at the arport in gangster character, for this scene, Doyle said of Miike that Last Life in the Universe is everything that Takashi Miike leaves out in his films.
    The cable network was showing Ichi the Killer a few days ago and I did not have the stomach to see his violent film. Sorry Takashi, but I liked your Katakuri Family film.

    On Matisse new biography, a review by Jeanette Winterson

    Letter to Jane (Jane Fonda who is mouthing academic feminist jargon while making round these days with her Christian conversion. It smells like a strategy to fight right wing Christian domination. Has she read Simone Weil? You don’t have to be a Christian to have a contact with Christ? On the other hand Jane has a Midas touch, or the force of Forrest Gump, who knows?)
    A book review by Ann Patchett, here.
    “Her decision to marry Ted Turner is not just confusing, but genuinely baffling. But then it would take a writer of Nabokov’s skill to make that guy seem charming on the page.
    I wish the book contained more discussion of her life as an actress, but aside from the time she spent working with Lee Strasberg, her career gets fewer pages than it deserves.
    Both Jane Fonda and her text are most alive when she’s dealing with Vietnam.”

    She was good to Jean Genet.
    Roger Vadim and the film I hope one day to see where Vadim used Art Blakey and Theloneous Monk and now the Korean remake.