Kundera's Artful Exile: The Paradox of Betrayal Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Spallino Mironava, Yauheniya A.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • The Czech novelist Milan Kundera who has lived in France since 1975 is all too familiar with betrayal, which punctuates both his life and his works. The publication of his novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being in 1984 sparked a heated debate among some of the most prominent Czech dissidents at home and leading Czech intellectuals in exile. Accusations of betrayal leveled against the author are central to the polemic, but the main area of contention addresses the larger questions of the role, rights, and freedoms of a writer of fiction, as expressed by two branches of Czechoslovak culture: exilic and dissident. By examining the dispute surrounding Kundera's best-known novel and tracing the trajectory of the betrayals he allegedly committed in exile, I seek to investigate the broader philosophical issue of a novelist's freedom, to delineate the complexities of an exilic writer's propensity to betray, and to demonstrate, using Kundera's own conception of the novel as a genre, that his betrayals are in fact positive, liberating, and felicitous.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Pichova, Hana
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2013

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