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 :: 1929-, Czech Author, Critic

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People are always shouting they want to create a better future. It's not true. The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past.
~ Milan Kundera - [Future]

 

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True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power.
~ Milan Kundera - [Goodness]

 

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Happiness is the longing for repetition.
~ Milan Kundera - [Happiness]

 

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Nothing is more repugnant to me than brotherly feelings grounded in the common baseness people see in one another.
~ Milan Kundera - [Human Fellowship]

 

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The reign of imagagology begins where history ends.
~ Milan Kundera - [Image]

 

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A gesture cannot be regarded as the expression of an individual, as his creation (because no individual is capable of creating a fully original gesture, belonging to nobody else), nor can it even be regarded as that person's instrument; on the contrary, it is gestures that use us as their instruments, as their bearers and incarnations.
~ Milan Kundera - [Individuality]

 

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Let us consider the critic, therefore, as a discoverer of discoveries.
~ Milan Kundera - [Critics and Criticism]

 

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Without the meditative background that is criticism, works become isolated gestures, historical accidents, soon forgotten.
~ Milan Kundera - [Critics and Criticism]

 

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High culture is nothing but a child of that European perversion called history, the obsession we have with going forward, with considering the sequence of generations a relay race in which everyone surpasses his predecessor, only to be surpassed by his successor. Without this relay race called history there would be no European art and what characterizes it: a longing for originality, a longing for change. Robespierre, Napoleon, Beethoven, Stalin, Picasso, they're all runners in the relay race, they all belong to the same stadium.
~ Milan Kundera - [Culture]

 

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Eroticism is like a dance: one always leads the other.
~ Milan Kundera - [Eroticism]

 

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A wave of anger washed over me, anger against myself, at my age at the time, that stupid lyrically age, when a man is too great a riddle to himself to be interested in the riddles outside himself and when other people are mere walking mirrors in which he is amazed to find his own emotions, his own worth.
~ Milan Kundera - [Anger]

 

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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.
~ Milan Kundera - [Animals]

 

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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.
~ Milan Kundera - [Books: Classics]

 

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The word change, so dear to our Europe, has been given a new meaning: it no longer means a new stage of coherent development (as it was understood by Vico, Hegel or Marx), but a shift from one side to another, from front to back, from the back to the left, from the left to the front (as understood by designers dreaming up the fashion for the next season).
~ Milan Kundera - [Change]

 

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There is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.
~ Milan Kundera - [Compassion]

 

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Woman is the future of man. That means that the world which was once formed in man's image will now be transformed to the image of woman. The more technical and mechanical, cold and metallic it becomes, the more it will need the kind of warmth that only the woman can give it. If we want to save the world, we must adapt to the woman, let ourselves be led by the woman, let ourselves be penetrated by the Ewigweiblich, the eternally feminine!
~ Milan Kundera - [Women]

 

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