25 Milan Kundera Quotes From The Czech Writer

Get acquainted with one of the most popular Czech writers through our Milan Kundera quotes

Milan Kundera is remembered for his indelible mark on the world of literature

Find out more with our Milan Kundera quotes below. 

Who was Milan Kundera?

Milan Kundera was a novelist from Czechoslovakia or the modern-day Czech Republic. 

His most successful book is The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Check out these Milan Kundera awards and accolades:

  • Kundera won the Jerusalem Prize in 1985. 
  • He was awarded the Herder Prize in 2000. 
  • In 1987 he won the Austrian State Prize for European Literature. 

An impressive career overcoming obstacles

Milan Kundera is an award-winning writer who managed to keep much of his life private. 

He has had an array of ups and downs.

He traversed it all, from contending for a Nobel Prize to enduring exile from his country

While Milan avoided the media, parts of his life were publicly scrutinized. 

His writings touched on topics other authors found taboo. 

For example, he was unafraid to address sexuality, politics, or ideas about religion.

In addition, he shed light on the abuses of power and humanized his living conditions. 

Therefore, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia banned his books and exiled him to France in 1979. 

But he lived well and had success living amongst the French.

What is The Unbearable Lightness of Being about?

Kundera published The Unbearable Lightness of Being in 1984. 

The novel was an immediate success, touching readers’ hearts in France and The United States. 

The setting unfolds in Prague during the late sixties and early seventies.

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The book paints a picture of what life was like for intellectuals in Czech society. 

In addition, the book covers the impacts of the Prague Spring and the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union. 

These complex parts of history separated families and destroyed lives. 

Putting the pieces back together

When Kundera faced exile, many believed he’d halt his career or nurture bitterness.

But he continued writing despite the pain of his native country kicking him out.

He was eventually granted citizenship to his homeland before he died in 2023. 

Short Milan Kundera quotes celebrating the brilliant Czech writer

These quotes provide you a quick taste of what this author had to offer.

1. “Optimism is the opium of the people.” — Milam Kundera, The Joke 

2. “Only the most naive of questions are truly serious.” — Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

3. “We pass through the present with our eyes blindfolded.” — Milan Kundera, Laughable Loves

4. “Immortality no longer interests the weary old man at all.” — Milan Kundera, Immortality

5. “There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time.” — Milan Kundera, Immortality

The best Milan Kundera quotes from The Unbearable Lightness of Being

We begin our list with these short and sweet Milan Kundera quotes. 

6. “And therein lies the whole of man’s plight.” — Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

7. “Physical love is unthinkable without violence.” — Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

8. “Only animals were not expelled from Paradise.” — Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

9. “Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line.” — Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

10. “That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.” — Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The top Milan Kundera quotes from The Book of Laughter and Forgetting and other works

Milan always believed it was the writer’s job to deliver truth to the people. 

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11. “Nudity is a shroud.” — Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

12. “Things are clearly more complicated.” — Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

13. “Nudity is the uniform of the other side.” — Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

14. “Those who consider the Devil to be a partisan of Evil and angels to be warriors for Good accept the demagogy of the angels.”  — Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

15. “To ensure that the self doesn’t shrink, to see that it holds on to its volume, memories have to be watered like potted flowers, and the watering calls for regular contact with the witnesses of the past, that is to say, with friends.” — Milan Kundera, Identity

Famous Milan Kundera quotes from Immortality 

Here are some powerful quotes from the novel Immortality

16. “War and culture, those are the two poles of Europe.” — Milan Kundera, Immortality

17. “When one comes to an end, the other will end also, and one cannot end without the other.” — Milan Kundera, Immortality

18. “Her heaven and hell, her glory and shame, and they cannot be separated from one another.” — Milan Kundera, Immortality

19. “Perhaps we become aware of our age only at exceptional moments, and most of the time, we are ageless.” — Milan Kundera, Immortality

20. “The fact that no war has broken out in Europe for fifty years is connected in some mysterious way with the fact that for fifty years no new Picasso has appeared either.” — Milan Kundera, Immortality

Milan Kundera quotes and sayings about life to live by

We close our list with these amazing Milan Kundera quotes. 

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21. “Indeed, the only truly serious questions are ones that even a child can formulate.” — Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

22. “We are permitted merely to sense and guess at what we are actually experiencing.” — Milan Kundera, Laughable Loves

23. “They are the questions with no answers. A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached.” — Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

24. “Only later, when the cloth is untied, can we glance at the past and find out what we have experienced and what meaning it has.” — Milan Kundera, Laughable Loves

25. “In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limit of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.” — Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

What is your favorite Milan Kundera book?

Milan Kundera’s career strings through several decades.

Over time he has produced some classics. 

Which is your favorite?

Be sure to let us know in the comments below. 

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