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Milan Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” Quotes (82 Quotes)


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  • And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself?
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Fidelity gives a unity to lives that would otherwise splinter into thousands of split-second impressions.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • If I had two lives, in one life I could invite her to stay at my place, and in the second life I could kick her out. Then I could compare and see which had been the best thing to do. But we only live once. Life's so light. Like an outline we can't ever fill in or correct... make any better. It's frightening".
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Seeing is limited by two borders: Strong light, which blinds, and total darkness.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • This reconciliation with Hitler reveals the profound moral perversity of a world that rests essentially on the nonexistence of return, for in this world everything is pardoned in advance and therefore everything cynically permitted.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")


  • Anyone who thinks that the Communist regimes of Central Europe are exclusively the work of criminals is overlooking a basic truth: The criminal regimes were made not by criminals but by enthusiasts convinced they had discovered the only road to paradise. They defended that road so valiantly that they were forced to execute many people. Later it became clear that there was no paradise, that the enthusiasts were therefore murderers.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • First he sympathized with Cuba, then with China, and when the cruelty of their regimes began to appall him, he resigned himself with a sigh to a sea of words with no weight and no resemblance to life.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • If it were possible to raise the penis by means of a simple command, then sexual excitement would have no place in the world.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • She fixed him with a long careful, searching stare that was not devoid of irony's intelligent sparkle
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Tomas did not realize at the time that metaphors are dangerous. Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Before we are forgotten, we will be turned into kitsch. Kitsch is the stopover between being and oblivion.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Flirting is a promise of sexual intercourse without a guarantee.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • If rejection and priviledge are one and the same, if there is no difference between the sublime and the paltry, if Son of God can undergo judgement of shit, then human existence loses its dimensions and becomes unbearable light.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • She had come to him to escape her mother's world, a world where all bodies were equal. She had come to him to make her body unique, irreplaceble. But he, too had drawn an equal sign between her and the rest of them: he kissed them all alike, stroked them all alike, made no, absolutely no distiction between Tereza's body and the other bodies. He sent her back to the world she tried to escape, sent to march naked with the other naked women
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Tomas turned the key and switched on the ceiling light. Teraza saw two beds pushed together, one of them flanked by a bedside table and a lamp. Up out of the lampshade, startled by the overhead light, flew a large nocturnal butterfly that began circling the room. The strains of the piano and violin rose up weakly from below.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")


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