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Milan Kundera's Quotes

Milan Kundera profile photo

Born: 1929-04-01
Profession: Writer
Nation: Czechoslovakian
Biography of Milan Kundera

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Only a literary work that reveals an unknown fragment of human existence has a reason for being.

Tags: Human, Reason, Work

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace.

Tags: Boring, Dog, Peace

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.

Tags: Fear, Humility, Together

How goodness heightens beauty!

Tags: Beauty, Goodness

I think I am a much better actor than I have allowed myself to be.

Tags: Actor, Allowed

No act is of itself either good or bad. Only its place in the order of things makes it good or bad.

Tags: Bad, Good, Place

Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought.

Tags: Effort, Rule, Thought

Optimism is the opium of the people.

Tags: Opium, Optimism

Eroticism is like a dance: one always leads the other.

Tags: Dance, Leads

He took over anger to intimidate subordinates, and in time anger took over him.

Tags: Anger, Him, Time

Let us consider the critic, therefore, as a discoverer of discoveries.

Tags: Consider, Critic, Discoverer

Man's world is the planet of inexperience.

Tags: Planet

Nothing is more repugnant to me than brotherly feelings grounded in the common baseness people see in one another.

Tags: Another, Common, Feelings

Nudity is the uniform of the other side... nudity is a shroud.

Tags: Side, Uniform

The best actors do not let the wheels show.

Tags: Best, Show, Wheels

The sound of laughter is like the vaulted dome of a temple of happiness.

Tags: Happiness, Laughter, Sound

There are no small parts. Only small actors.

Tags: Parts, Small

Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress.

Tags: Beauty, Greatest, Life

Without the meditative background that is criticism, works become isolated gestures, historical accidents, soon forgotten.

Tags: Become, Criticism, Soon

I am incapable of speaking of myself and of my life and the states of my soul, I am discreet to an almost pathological degree, and there is nothing I can do against that.

Tags: Against, Life, Soul

The light that radiates from the great novels time can never dim, for human existence is perpetually being forgotten by man and thus the novelists' discoveries, however old they may be, will never cease to astonish.

Tags: Great, Human, Time

There are metaphysical problems, problems of human existence, that philosophy has never known how to grasp in all their concreteness and that only the novel can seize.

Tags: Human, Philosophy, Problems

The novelist teaches the reader to comprehend the world as a question. There is wisdom and tolerance in that attitude. In a world built on sacrosanct certainties the novel is dead.

Tags: Attitude, Dead, Wisdom

Those who consider the Devil to be a partisan of Evil and angels to be warriors for Good accept the demagogy of the angels. Things are clearly more complicated.

Tags: Accept, Evil, Good

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.

Tags: Short, Successful, Wanted

Business has only two functions - marketing and innovation.

Tags: Business, Innovation, Marketing
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Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent.

Tags: Evil, Jealousy, Pet

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy.

Tags: Enough, Lazy, Poor

Metaphors are dangerous. Love begins with a metaphor. Which is to say, love begins at the point when a woman enters her first word into our poetic memory.

Tags: Her, Love, Woman

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.

Tags: Attitude, Respect, True

There is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels for someone, for someone, pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echos.

Tags: Compassion, Pain, Someone

A novel that does not uncover a hitherto unknown segment of existence is immoral. Knowledge is the novel's only morality.

Tags: Existence, Knowledge, Morality

To be a writer does not mean to preach a truth, it means to discover a truth.

Tags: Mean, Means, Truth

The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything.

Tags: Question, Stupidity, Wisdom

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.

Tags: Change, Great, Movement

Culture is perishing in overproduction, in an avalanche of words, in the madness of quantity.

Tags: Culture, Madness, Words

The worth of a human being lies in the ability to extend oneself, to go outside oneself, to exist in and for other people.

Tags: Human, Lies, Worth

Hate traps us by binding us too tightly to our adversary.

Tags: Adversary, Hate, Tightly

All great novels, all true novels, are bisexual.

Tags: Bisexual, Great, True

Happiness is the longing for repetition.

Tags: Happiness, Longing, Repetition

I find myself fascinating.

Tags: Deaf, Music, Played

The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.

Tags: Against, Power, Struggle

You can understand nothing about art, particularly modern art, if you do not understand that imagination is a value in itself.

Tags: Art, Understand, Value

For a novelist, a given historic situation is an anthropologic laboratory in which he explores his basic question: What is human existence?

Tags: Human, Question, Situation

True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power.

Tags: Freedom, Power, True

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.

Tags: Idea, May, While

Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an esthetic end.

Tags: Art, End, Human

Listening to a news broadcast is like smoking a cigarette and crushing the butt in the ashtray.

Tags: Listening, News, Smoking

No matter how much we scorn it, kitsch is an integral part of the human condition.

Tags: Condition, Human, Matter
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