Goodreads helps you follow your favorite authors. Be the first to learn about new releases!
Start by following Milan Kundera.

Milan Kundera Milan Kundera > Quotes


Milan Kundera quotes (showing 181-210 of 2,126)

“We are born one time only, we can never start a new life equipped with the experience we've gained from the previous one. We leave childhood without knowing what youth is, we marry without knowing what it is to be married, and even when we enter old age, we don't know what it is we're heading for: the old are innocent children innocent of thier old age. In that sense, man's world is the planet of inexperience.”
Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel
“Necessity knows no magic formulae-they are all left to chance. If a love is to be unforgettable, fortuities must immediately start fluttering down to it like birds to Francis of Assisi's shoulders.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
“I think, therefore I am' is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches.”
Milan Kundera, Immortality
“Es muss sein. Es muss sein.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
“it is wrong to chide the novel for being fascinated by mysterious coincidences... but it is right to chide man for being blind to such coincidences in his daily life. For he thereby deprives his life a dimension of beauty.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
“If hatred strikes you, if you get accused, thrown to the lions, you can expect one of two reactions from people who know you: some of them will join in the kill, the others will discreetly pretend to know nothing, hear nothing, so you can go right on seeing them and talking to them. That second category, discreet and tactful, those are your friends. 'Friends' in the modern sense of the term. Listen, Jean-Marc, I've known that forever.”
Milan Kundera, Identity
“In Tereza’s eyes, books were the emblems of a secret brotherhood. For she had but a single weapon against the world of crudity surrounding her: the novels. She had read any number of them, from Fielding to Thomas Mann. They not only offered the possibility of an imaginary escape from a life she found unsatisfying; they also had a meaning for her as physical objects: she loved to walk down the street with a book under her arm. It had the same significance for her as an elegant cane from the dandy a century ago. It differentiated her from others.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
“And I ran after that voice through the streets so as not to lose sight of the splendid wreath of bodies gliding over the city, and I realized with anguish in my heart that they were flying like birds and I was falling like a stone, that they had wings and I would never have any.”
Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
“From tender youth we are told by father and teacher that betrayal is the most heinous offence 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
“Even at the age of eight she would fall asleep by pressing one hand into the other and making believe she was holding the hand of the man whom she loved, the man of her life. So if in her sleep she pressed Tomas hand with such tenacity, we can understand why: she had been training since childhood.”
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
“I invent stories, confront one with another, and by this means I ask questions. The stupidity of people comes from having an answer to everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything.”
Milan Kundera
“Tell me, where in life is there a value that would make us consider suicide uncalled for on principle! Love? Or friendship? I guarantee that friendship is not a bit less fickle than love and it is impossible to build anything on it. Self-love? I wish it were possible.”
Milan Kundera, Laughable Loves
“Noise has one advantage. It drowns out words. And suddenly he realized that all his life he had done nothing but talk, write, lecture, concoct sentences, search for formulations and amend them, so in the end no words were precise, their meanings were obliterated, their content lost, they turned into trash, chaff dust, sand; prowling through his brain, tearing at his head. they were his insomnia, his illness. And what he yearned for at that moment, vaguely, but with all his might, was unbounded music, absolute sound, a pleasant and happy all-encompassing, over-poering, window-rattling din to engulf, once and for all, the pain, the futility, the vanity of words. Music was the negation of sentences, music was the anti-word!”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
“Spontaneously, without any theological training, I, a child, grasped the incompatibility of God and shit and thus came to question the basic thesis of Christian anthropology, namely that man was created in God's image. Either/or: either man was created in God's image - and has intestines! - or God lacks intestines and man is not like him.

The ancient Gnostics felt as I did at the age of five. In the second century, the Great Gnostic master Valentinus resolved the damnable dilemma by claiming that Jesus "ate and drank, but did not defecate."

Shit is a more onerous theological problem than is evil. Since God gave man freedom, we can, if need be, accept the idea that He is not responsible for man's crimes. The responsibility for shit, however, rests entirely with Him, the creator of man.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
“فى قاموسى الكافر، ثمة كلمة واحدة مقدسـة: الصداقة”
Milan Kundera, La festa dell'insignificanza
“The future is only an indifferent void no one cares about, but the past is filled with life, and its countenance is irritating, repellent, wounding, to the point that we want to destroy or repaint it. We want to be masters of the future only for the power to change the past.”
Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
“Two people in love, alone, isolated from the world, that's very beautiful. But what would they nourish their intimate talk with? However contemptible the world may be, they still need it to be able to talk together.'
'They could be silent.'
'Like those two, at the next table?' Jean Marc laughed. 'Oh, no, no love can survive muteness.”
Milan Kundera, Identity
“We’ve known for a long time that it was no longer possible to overturn this world, nor reshape it, nor head off its dangerous headlong rush. There’s been only one possible resistance: to not take it seriously.”
Milan Kundera, The Festival of Insignificance
“Metaphors are dangerous, Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love.”
Milan Kundera
“It was futile to attack with reason the stout wall of irrational feelings that, as is known, is the stuff of which the female mind is made.”
Milan Kundera, Laughable Loves
tags: women
“How goodness heightens beauty!”
Milan Kundera
“I know, brother, that you are a straightforward man, and that you pride yourself on it. But put one question to yourself: why in fact should one tell the truth? What obliges us to do it? And why do we consider telling the truth a virtue? Imagine that you meet a madman, who claims that he is a fish and that we are all fish. Are you going to argue with him? Are you going to undress in front of him and show him that you don't have fins? Are you going to say to his face what you think? Well, tell me!'

His brother was silent and Edward went on: 'If you told him the whole truth and nothing but the truth, only what you really thought, you would enter into a serious conversation with a madman and you yourself would become mad. And it is the same way with the world that surrounds us. If I obstinately told a man the truth to his face, it would mean I was taking him seriously. And to take something so unimportant seriously means to become less than serious oneself. I, you see, must lie, if I don't want to take madmen seriously and become one of them myself.”
Milan Kundera, Laughable Loves
“The longing for order is at the same time a longing for death, because life is an incessant disruption of order.”
Milan Kundera, Farewell Waltz
“The religion of orgasm: utilitarianism projected into sex life; efficiency versus indolence; coition reduced to an obstacle to be got past as quickly as possible in order to reach an ecstatic explosion, the only true goal of love-making and of the universe.”
Milan Kundera, Slowness
“People who shout joy from the rooftops are often the saddest of all.”
Milan Kundera, The Joke
“While people are fairly young and the musical composition of their lives is still in its opening bars, they can go about writing it together and sharing motifs (the way Tomas and Sabina exchanged the motif of the bowler hat), but if they meet when they are older, like Franz and Sabina, their musical compositions are more or less complete, and every motif, every object, every word means something different to each of them.”
Milan Kundera
“Too much faith is the worst ally. When you believe in something literally, through your faith you'll turn it into something absurd. One who is a genuine adherent, if you like, of some political outlook, never takes its sophistries seriously, but only its practical aims, which are concealed beneath these sophistries. Political rhetoric and sophistries do not exist, after all, in order that they be believed; rather, they have to serve as a common and agreed upon alibi. Foolish people who take them in earnest sooner or later discover inconsistencies in them, begin to protest, and finish finally and infamously as heretics and apostates. No, too much faith never brings anything good...”
Milan Kundera
“Do you realize that people don't know how to read Kafka simply because they want to decipher him? Instead of letting themselves be carried away by his unequaled imagination, they look for allegories — and come up with nothing but clichés: life is absurd (or it is not absurd), God is beyond reach (or within reach), etc. You can understand nothing about art, particularly modern art, if you do not understand that imagination is a value in itself.”
Milan Kundera
tags: kafka
“Darling, my darling, don't think that I don't love you or that I didn't love you, but it's precisely because I love you that I couldn't have become what I am today if you were still here. It's impossible to have a child and despise the world as it is, because that's the world we've put the child into. The child makes us care about the world, think about it's future, willingly join in its racket and its turmoils, take its incurable stupidity seriously.”
Milan Kundera, Identity


All Quotes | Add A Quote
Play The 'Guess That Quote' Game

Immortality Immortality
25,102 ratings
The Joke The Joke
22,452 ratings