M. Pilar
Friday 9 November 2018 by Libadmin2018


Milan Kundera is widely known especially for his novels written in Czech, only much later he began to write his fiction in French. Rather paradoxically, it was only when he had become a French citizen that Kundera started to write systematically about the Central European novel as a specific phenomenon with highly original features, e. g. polythematic structure, lack of great epic stories, a tendency to essayism, and an ironical approach to the authorʼs homeland. His novels are very often based on playful or grotesque variations on a certain single theme. It is necessary to stress that this technique is quite common not only in Classical music, but also in jazz improvisations. Kundera՚s deep knowledge of music is reflected in his novelistic work, where he often uses techniques of composition known from the old masters of Baroque and Classicist music. The usage of these techniques was more or less subconscious in his first novels, but later they started to create a structure of all his later text, as Kundera described it in his French-language essays. It is less known, that Kundera entered Czech literature as a young poet in the time of Stalinism. As a student, he was expelled from the Communist party in 1950, which was highly unpleasant in the time of political purges. This was probably the reason why he created and published a long poetic composition inspired by the personality of Julius Fučík, the celebrated young Communist writer executed by the Nazis in 1943. Milan Kundera evidently wrote this long poem called The Last May (1955), because he wanted to purify his political profile. In spite of the fact that The Last May is a typical sample of Communist propaganda, for literary historians and critics it is useful to read and study this text, because several musical themes and techniques of composition were used here, quite a long time before his mature prosaic fiction.

Keywords: Milan Kundera as a novelist, the Central European novel, musical composition of literary texts, Milan Kundera as a poet, The Last May

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