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Milan Kundera Quotes (136 Quotes)


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  • Being a woman is a fate Sabina did not choose. What we have not chosen we cannot consider either to our merit or our failure. Sabina believed that she had to assume to correct attitude to her unchosen faith. To rebel against being born a woman seemed as foolish to her as taking pride in it.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • For how can we condemn something that is ephemeral, in transit? In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • In spite of their love, they had made each other's life a hell. The fact that they loved each other was merely proof that the fault lay not in themselves, in their behavior or inconstancy of feeling, but rather in their incompatibility: he was strong and she was weak.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • She knew, of course that she was being supremely unfair, that Franz was the best man she ever had- he was intelligent, he understood her paintings, he was handsome and good-but the more she thought about it, the more she longed to ravish his intelligence, defile his kindheartedness, and violate his powerless strength
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • We all need someone to look at us. We can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under . . . The fourth category, the rarest, is the category of people who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present. They are the dreamers.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")


  • Being in a foreign country means walking a tightrope high above the ground without the net afforded a person by the country where he has his family, colleagues, and friends, and where he can easily say what he has to say in a language he has known from childhood.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • For Sabina, living in truth, lying neither to ourselves nor to others, was possible only away from the public: the moment someone keeps an eye on what we do, we involuntarily make allowances for that eye, and nothing we do is truthful. Having a public, keeping a public in mind, means living in lies.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • It follows, then, that the aesthetic ideal of the categorical agreement with being is a world in which shit is denied and everyone acts as though it did not exist. This aesthetic ideal is called kitsch.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • She regarded books as the emblems of secret brotherhood. A man with this sort of library couldn't possibly hurt her.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • What does it mean to live in truth? Putting it negatively is easy enough: it means not lying, not hiding, and not dissimulating.
    (Milan Kundera, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being")

  • 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")


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