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Title: 'Slowness', 'Identity' and 'Ignorance' : Milan Kundera's French variations
Author: Jones, Tim
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis explores in detail three academically neglected novels by Milan Kundera: Slowness (1995), Identity (1998) and Ignorance (2002). Originally written in French, the author’s second language, after six novels, a short-story collection and a play originally written in Czech, these texts are often bracketed off from the rest of his writing and seen as something of an inferior addendum. This is despite clear thematic similarities that cross the linguistic divide and that I demonstrate here are of central significance to the author’s entire novelistic project. This exploration not only reveals that these three French novels place in the foreground themes that have rippled in and out of focus across Kundera’s earlier Czech work and so are of central importance to Kundera as a novelist. It also shows that the lateness of the variations on the themes of slowness, identity and ignorance within these three French novels does not hold everything in common with the lateness that Adorno locates in late Beethoven. It is true that like late Beethoven, Kundera’s late variations on these themes demonstrate the manoeuvres of an oeuvre sensing its death across the horizon. But through the specific nature of the late variations on slowness, identity and ignorance, the oeuvre works hard to pull its readers down into the textual spaces of these three late novels with a fresh urgency, rather than truculently push them away, so that Kundera’s audience might be adequately prepared to continue its own voyages once the oeuvre has played its final notes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available