Universitatea “Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, Facultatea de Litere şi Arte / “Lucian Blaga” University from Sibiu, Faculty of Letters and Arts
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4 / 2010
Milan Kundera’s “The Joke” – the book of laughter and of the lightness of being
Simili-biographical novel, exploiting some aspects of his personal experience, “The joke”, with Ludvik as main character, develops its epic on no more than two days, but nevertheless manages to pursue the destinies of several characters, intersecting in one way or another. Tne innovation of the narrative pact is given by the manner of splitting the narrative tasks between the four characters whose names give the titles of the seven chapters: Ludvik,
Helena, Jaroslav and Kostka. In each case, the line between greatness and humiliation, sublime and grotesque, tragic and comic, etc.. is very thin and hardly noticeable. Permanently placed under the auspices of the “relative truth” guiding their existences and of the “laughter of God”, these experimental egos, observed with extreme self-irony, represent Milan Kundera’s challenge addressed to the tradition of the European novel.
Keywords: Milan Kundera, communism, history of the European novel, experimental ego, art of the novel
- Kundera, Milan, Arta romanului / The Art of the Novel, Editura Humanitas, Bucureşti, 2008.
- Kundera, Milan, Gluma / The Joke, Editura Humanitas, Bucureşti, 2003.