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


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  • Between the approximation of the idea and the precision of reality there was a small gap of the unimaginable, and it was this hiatus that gave him no rest.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • From tender youth we are told by father and teacher that betrayal is the most heinous offense imaginable. But what is betrayal?…Betrayal means breaking ranks and breaking off into the unknown. Sabina knew of nothing more magnificent than going off into the unknown.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Living for Sabina meant seeing. Seeing is limited by two borders: strong light, which blinds, and total darkness. Perhaps that was what motivated Sabina's distaste for all extremism. Extremes mean borders beyond which life ends, and a passion for extremism, in art and in politics, is a veiled longing for death.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Shit is a more onerous theological problem than is evil.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • When a person is clubbed violently on the head, he collapses and stops breathing. Some day, he will stop breathing anyway.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")


  • But all he could think of was what Sabina would have said about it. Everything he did, he did for Sabina, the way Sabina would have liked to see it done. It was a perfectly innocent form of infidelity and one eminently suited to Franz, who would never have done his bespectacled student-mistress any harm. He nourished the cult of Sabina more as a religion than as love
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • He saw the marching, shouting crowd as the image of Europe and its history. Europe was the Grand March. The march from revolution to revolution, from struggle to struggle, ever onward.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Men who pursue a multitude of women fit neatly into two categories. Some seek their own subjective and unchanging dream of a woman in all women. Others are prompted by a desire to possess the endless variety of the objective female in the world.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Sometimes you make up your mind about something without knowing why, and your decision persists by the power of inertia. Every year it gets harder to change.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • When a private talk over a bottle of wine is broadcast on the radio, what can it mean but that the world is turning into a concentration camp?
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • But if we betray B., for whom we betrayed A., it does not necessarily follow that we have placated A. The life of a divorcée-painter did not in the least resemble the life of the parents she had betrayed. The first betrayal is irreparable. It calls forth a chain reaction of further betrayals, each of which takes us farther and farther away from the point of our original betrayal.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • He suddenly felt dismayed at how little he had seen of her the last two years; he had so few opportunities to press her hands in his to stop them from trembling.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • No matter how brutal life becomes, peace always reign in the cemetery.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • Tereza had gone back to sleep; he could not. He pictured her death. She was dead and having terrible nightmares; but because she was dead, he was unable to wake her from them. Yes, that is death: Tereza asleep, having terrible nightmares, and he unable to wake her.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • When graves are covered with stones, the dead can no longer get out. But the dead can't go out anyway! What difference does it make whether they're covered with soil or stones?
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")


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