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L'insoutenable légèreté de l'être

l_insoutenable_legerete_de_l_etre.jpg Milan Kundera, L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être, Paris, Gallimard, 1984, 393 p. (première édition en français, traduction par François Kérel)

« L’éternel retour est une idée mystérieuse et, avec elle, Nietzsche a mis bien des philosophes dans l’embarras : penser qu’un jour tout se répétera comme nous l’avons déjà vécu et que même cette répétition se répétera encore indéfiniment ! Que veut dire ce mythe loufoque ? Le mythe de l’éternel retour affirme, par la négation, que la vie qui disparaît une fois pour toutes, qui ne revient pas, est semblable à une ombre, est sans poids, est morte d’avance, et fût-elle atroce, belle, splendide, cette atrocité, cette beauté, cette splendeur ne signifient rien. »
(Extrait de l’incipit)

Documentation critique

ROBERGE, Valérie, « Méditation sur la liberté inspirée de Kierkegaard et Kundera », mémoire de maîtrise, département de philosophie, Université Laval, 2013, 98 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

### Résumé
« La Méditation sur la liberté inspirée de Kierkegaard et de Kundera » s’interroge d’un point de vue existentiel sur la liberté. Elle cherche à comprendre pourquoi face à un choix un individu ne considère pas tous les possibles comme possibles. Sa première partie est basée sur Le concept d’angoisse, simple éclaircissement psychologique préalable au problème du péché originel par Kierkegaard et sa deuxième partie, ayant pour base théorique la première, s’appuie sur deux romans de Kundera : L’Immortalité et L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être. C’est à travers ces trois textes que la réflexion se développe autour de l’angoisse, qui rend possible la liberté, et de la légèreté, qui est un terme employé pour désigner le moment où l’homme se retrouve face à tous les possibles qui s’offrent à lui.

Roberge, 2013, PDF ###

VIBERT, Bertrand, « Milan Kundera : la fiction pensive », Les Temps Modernes, n° 629 (2005), p. 109-133. +++ Article de revue

### Porte aussi sur L’Immortalité.

Vibert, 2005, HTML ###

CHOQUETTE, François, « Destins intimes de la connaissance dans L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être de Milan Kundera », mémoire de maîtrise, département de lettres et de communication sociale, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, 1999, 172 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

AJI, Aron, « Self in “the last act of the modern era”: A study of the terminal paradoxes of existence in Milan Kundera’s fiction », thèse de doctorat, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 1989, 195 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

### Abstract
Milan Kundera perceives the existence of contemporary individuals as fragmented because of their inherent desire to control their own being and their categorical relatedness to the outside world. They are torn between the promptings of their private selves and the impersonal dictates of history, political ideology and culture. According to Kundera, this fragmentation challenges the traditional notions about the self. We can no longer understand the self in terms of the once-reassuring distinctions, such as public and private identity, the self as an object and the self as a subject, existence and essence, the collective will of society and individual will, engagement and alienation. These distinctions have been substituted by what Kundera calls “terminal paradoxes”: blurred, interdependent and contradictory dispositions which simultaneously describe the contemporary self’s existence. Common to Kundera’s characters are two pairs of terminal paradoxes: Abandonment vs. Commitment, Lightness vs. Weight. These pairs supply us with a general perspective to approach the particular situations of his characters. Each of these pairs finds its most elaborate treatment in Kundera’s first and last books to date: Abandonment vs. Commitment in The Joke, Lightness vs. Weight in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Thus, a close examination of the two also reveals Kundera’s enduring concerns and the main tenets of his existential vision, namely, the relationship between the self and history, the questions of self-definition and identity. ###

BUCCIARELLI, Gerald Anthony, « Immortal longings », mémoire de maîtrise, California State University, Dominguez Hills, 2001, 64 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

### Abstract
Our “immortal longing,” as the phrase is used by Bellow, can be defined as an impulse toward the Transcendent. True “feeling” and true “love” are pathways to the Transcendent. In Saul Bellow’s More Die of Heartbreak and Humboldt’s Gift, and Milan Kundera’s Immortality and Unbearable Lightness of Being, we examine these authors’ respective quests for Transcendence through these pathways.

Carl Jung’s point about the “collective unconscious” was that we are all looking for transcendence, whether we know it or not. While the Bellow hero knows that he is looking for transcendent love, the same cannot be said of the Kundera hero. The Bellow hero calls his search a spiritual or mystical quest; the Kundera hero calls it nothing.

But by contrasting these two authors’ works, we illustrate roads toward Transcendence; we also illustrate how, know it or not, we are all traveling those same roads. What is necessary to navigate the roads to transcendence successfully is, simply stated, “consciousness.”

La version PDF de la thèse est disponible pour les membres de communautés universitaires qui ont un abonnement institutionnel auprès de UMI - Proquest ###

VASSILATOS, Alexia, « L’écriture chez Kundera : voyage vers l’autre comme exploration existentielle du soi. Une lecture de L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être », French Studies in Southern Africa, vol. 35 (2005), p. 139-153. +++ Article de revue

BENSON, Stephen, « For Want of a Better Term ? Polyphony and the Value of Music in Bakhtin and Kundera », Narrative, vol. 11, n° 3 (automne 2003), p. 292-311. +++ Article de revue

###Abstract (Academic search premier)
Analyzes the use of polyphony and music in literary narratives written by Milan Kundera and Mikhail Bakhtin. Methodological hegemony of classical and post-classical narratology ; Defenition of musical polyphony ; Terms used by Kundera for the sounding together of voices or lines in the musically oriented narrative text.

Benson, 2003, PDF ###

BARNARD, John, « The Unbearable Lightness of Being : Repetition, Formal Structure, and Critique », Kunapipi : Journal of Post-Colonial Writing, vol. 25, n° 1 (2003), p. 65-72. +++ Article de revue

###Abstract (revue Kunapipi)
The power of Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1985) springs from a constant exchange between his sceptical critical intelligence and his belief in the autonomy of his fictional characters. The novel persistently draws attention to its fictiveness. It is divided into seven named parts. Part One, ‘Lightness and Weight’, opens with an ironic self-contained section on Nietzsche’s idea of the eternal return (the firs of many interpolated ‘essays’ on ‘philosophical’ topics). There is an avoidance throughout of interior monologue. The narrator insistently reminds us in propria personathat what we are reading is a fiction […] ###

BOISEN, Jorn, « Tereza et Nietzsche », Revue Romane, vol. 37, n° 2 (2002), p. 167-186. +++ Article de revue

###Résumé (Revue Romane)
L’objectif de la présente étude est d’isoler un problème fondamental de l’esthétique et de la pensée de Kundera, à savoir comment explorer des thèmes philosophiques par des moyens romanesques ? Le soupçon du roman à thèse plane sur chaque roman qui contient une forte présence du penser. Pour réfuter cette accusation, le texte tente de dégager la relation très spécifique entre certaines propositions nietzschéennes, explicitement présentés et discutées dans L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être, et le destin d’un des personnages, la serveuse Tereza. L’analyse montre que le roman pensé de Kundera ne devient ni une défense ni une illustration des thèses philosophiques préétablies mais, au contraire, une exploration ambiguë et paradoxale de ce que deviennent les thèmes philosophiques dans “le monde de la vie”.###

BOISEN, Jorn, Une fois ne compte pas : nihilisme et sens dans L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être de Milan Kundera, Copenhague, Museum Tusculanum Press (Études romanes de l’Université de Copenhague), 2005, 186 p. +++ Monographie

BRINK, André, The Novel : Language and Narrative from Cervantes to Calvino, Londres, Basingtoke (Macmillan Press), 1998, 373 p. +++ Monographie

###Cette monographie contient un chapitre consacré à L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être. ###

ST-GERMAIN, Caroline, « Le paradoxe comme révélateur de désenchantement et de nostalgie : analyse postmoderne du roman L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être de Milan Kundera », mémoire de maîtrise, faculté des lettres, Université Laval, 2003, 129 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

###Résumé (Amicus)
En parcourant nombre de revues spécialisées traitant du postmoderne en littérature, il arrive fréquemment de voir mentionné le nom de Kundera parmi des écrivains tels Pynchon, Barthes, Nabokov, Calvino, Eco, Sarraute et Robbe-Grillet, écrivains à qui certains ont attribué le titre de postmodernes. Que relie donc des écrivains si différents à la typologie esthétique postmoderne ? Peut-on considérer leurs écrits comme faisant partie d’un seule et même programme et motivés par les mêmes soucis esthétiques ? Certes, la littérature postmoderne du continent américain ne se laisse pas aborder de la même façon que celle de l’Europe mais encore, faire le pas entre les continents n’est pas si énorme que faire le pas entre les Histoires qui distinguent ces deux parties du monde. Est-il possible de voir dans l’oeuvre de Kundera une attitude entièrement postmoderne ?

St-Germain, 2003, PDF ###

COCKERILL, Jodi, « Enduring the Trap of Existence : A Study of Three Novels by Milan Kundera », mémoire de maîtrise, Department of French, Italian and Spanish, University of Calgary, 1996, 114 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

###Une partie de cette thèse porte sur L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être. ###

KENZIE, Alison Michelle, « The Magnificent Sense of Being Relevant : A Comparative Study of Milan Kundera and André Brink », thèse de doctorat, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Western Ontario, 1999, 278 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

PRIGENT, Elen, « La représentation de la femme dans La plaisanterie, La vie est ailleurs et L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être de Milan Kundera », mémoire de maîtrise, faculté des lettres et langages, Université de Nantes, 2003, 110 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

TORRALBA ROSELLO, Francesc, Geografia de l’absurd, Lleida, Pagès, 1993, 149 p. +++ Monographie

###Cette monographie s’intéresse au concept de l’absurde chez Kafka, Kundera et Sartre. ###

KINYON, Kamila, « The Panopticon Gaze in Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being », Critique : Studies in Contemporary Fiction, vol. 42, n° 3 (printemps 2001), p. 243-251. +++ Article de revue

###Résumé (Find Articles)
« Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being was published in 1984, the prophetic Orwellian year when “Big Brother is watching.” Although Kundera has expressed a low opinion of Orwell, calling him a mere “philosophical writer” rather than a “novelist”, there are similarities with Kundera’s own rather philosophical text in witch characters are mercilessly exposed to a panopticon gaze that takes away their privacy. »

Kinyon, 2000, HTML ###

EAGLETON, Terry, « Bakhtin, Schopenhauer, Kundera », dans Ken HIRSCHKOP (dir.), Bakhtin and Cultural Theory, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2001, p. 229-240. +++ Chapitre de collectif

FORBES, Cheryl, « Writing the Body : An Experiment in Material Rhetoric », Rhetoric Review, vol. 19, n° 1-2 (automne 2000), p. 60-72. +++ Article de revue

###Forbes, 2000, HTML ###

BOISEN, Jorn, « Vérité et paradoxe dans L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être de Milan Kundera », Revue Romane, vol. 35, n° 2 (2000), p. 233-254. +++ Article de revue

###Résumé (Revue Romane)
L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être se caractérise surtout par les nombreux passages philosophiques intercalés dans l’action. S’appuyant, d’une part, sur l’idée de l’éternel retour du même de Nietzsche, telle que celle-ci apparaît dans le roman, et, d’autre part, sur l’histoire vécue par le protagoniste Tomas, la présente lecture démontre que la fonction de ces passages n’est pas de fournir la morale de l’histoire, mais d’exposer la philosophie à l’ambiguïté contagieuse de l’action. Cette stratégie permet au romancier de s’attaquer aux vérités et aux certitudes, tendant des pièges à la raison en lui soumettant des cas où elle ne saurait trancher à elle seule. Procédant avec une logique mathématique implacable, Kundera nous conduit vers une ambiguïté foncière selon laquelle la seule vérité concevable sur l’homme revêt la forme d’une question. ###

PATCHAY, Sheena, « “Re-Telling” Histories in The Unbearable Lightness of Being and The Book of Laughter and Forgetting », Journal of Literary Studies, vol. 14, n° 3 (décembre 1998), p. 245-252. +++ Article de revue

WINNER, Anthony, « Authenticity, Authority, and Application : Buzzati, Kundera, Gordimer », Kenyon Review, vol. 20, n° 3 (été 1998), p. 94-120. +++ Article de revue

PICHOVA, Hana, « The Bowler Hat as a Monument to Time Past in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being », European Studies Journal, vol. 14, n° 2 (automne 1997), p. 5-19. +++ Article de revue

PICHOVA, Hana et Marjorie E., RHINE, « Reading Oedipus in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being », Comparative Literature Studies, vol. 34, n° 1 (1997), p. 71-83. +++ Article de revue

###Abstract (Academic search premier)
Discusses metaphorical ties of Milan Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being to the tale of Oedipus by the Greek author Sophocles. Importance of the Oedipus myth within the novel ; Ways in which the Oedipus tale serves as a calalyst of action within the novel ; Novel’s reading of Oedipus in a way that seems to leave no question of Oedipus guilt. ###

HANS, James S., « Kundera’s Laws of Beauty », Essays in Literature, vol. 19, n° 1 (printemps 1992), p. 144-158. +++ Article de revue

DEGENAAR, Johan, « The Unbearable Lightness of Being : A Philosophical Exploration », Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies, vol. 13, n° 3 (novembre 1992), p. 51-63. +++ Article de revue

RANDALL, David S., « Literary Desire / Filmic Despair : Duras / Kundera », JAISA : The Journal of the Association for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Arts, vol. 4, n° 2 (printemps 1999), p. 1-24. +++ Article de revue

KAMKHAGI, Vanessa, « Rabelais, Flaubert et Kundera : la démystification du monde moderne », Confronto letterario, vol. 14, n° 28 (novembre 1997), p. 773-789. +++ Article de revue

###Confronto letterario : quaderni del dipartimento di lingue e letterature straniere moderne dell’Università di Paviae del Dipartimento di linguistica e letterature comparate dell’Università di Bergamo.###

TURCANU, Radu, « Minor and Major Love in Ovid and Kundera », The Comparatist : Journal of the Southern Comparative Literature Association, vol. 19 (mai 1995), p. 28-45. +++ Article de revue

AMIGO FERNANDEZ DE ARROYABE, Ma Luisa, « Sobre la realidad del arte : la novela como realidad en Kundera y Camus », Letras de Deusto, vol. 24, n° 63 (printemps 1994), p. 103-124. +++ Article de revue

BRETTO GARCIA, Luis, « Literatura y postmodernidades », Literatura y Lingüistica, vol. 7 (1994), p. 17-26. +++ Article de revue

###Cette article propose une analyse comparatiste du roman Le nom de la rose d’Umberto Eco avec Le parfum de Patrick Süskind et L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être.###

PICHOVA, Hana, « The Narrator in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable lightness of Being », Slavic and East European Journal, vol. 36, n° 2 (été 1992), p. 217-226. +++ Article de revue

###Pichova, 1992, HTML ###

ENRIGHT-CLARK SHOUKRI, Doris, « Dante Revisited », Alif : Journal of Comparative Poetics, n° 12 (1992), p. 29-39. +++ Article de revue

### * Enright-Clark Shoukri, 1992, html ###

WEBB, Igor, « Milan Kundera and the Limits of Scepticism », Massachusetts Review : A Quarterly of Literature, vol. 31, n° 3 (automne 1990), p. 357-368. +++ Article de revue

###Résumé (Academic Search Premier)
« Depicts Milan Kundera as a kind of Enlightenment savant with a distaste for the natural. He is a rationalist and a skeptic devoted to imagination and creativity ; Thoughts on reason and experience ; Negative sexual relations in his writing. »

Webb, 1990, HTML ###

CALVINO, Italo, « On Kundera », The Review of Contemporary Fiction, vol. 9, n° 2 (été 1989), p. 53-57. +++ Article de revue

BAYLEY, John, « Kundera and Jane Austen », The Review of Contemporary Fiction, vol. 9, n° 2 (été 1989), p. 58-64. +++ Article de revue

MORSTEIN, Petra von, « Eternal Return and The Unbearable Lightness of Being », The Review of Contemporary Fiction, vol. 9, n° 2 (été 1989), p. 65-78. +++ Article de revue

NIMITZ, Cheryl, « Lawrence and Kundera ; ‘Disturbing’ », Recovering Literature : A Journal of Contextualist Criticism, vol. 17 (1989), p. 43-51. +++ Article de revue

BAYLEY, John, « Fictive Lightness, Fictive Weight », Salmagundi, vol. 73 (hiver 1987), p. 84-92. +++ Article de revue

SCARPETTA, Guy, « Kundera’s Quartet (On The Unbearable Lightness of Being) », Salmagundi, vol. 73 (hiver 1987), p. 109-118. +++ Article de revue

JAANUS, Maire, « Kundera and Lacan : Drive, Desire, and Oneiric Narration », dans Willy APOLLON (dir.), Lacan, Politics, aesthetics, Albany, State University of New York, 1996, p. 199-235. +++ Chapitre de collectif

PARNELL, Tim, « Sterne and Kundera : The Novel of Variations and the “Noisy Foolishness of Human Certainty” », dans Tim PARNELL et David PIERCE (dir.), Laurence Sterne in Modernism and Postmodernism, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Ropodi, 1995, p. 147-155. +++ Chapitre de collectif

BESSIÈRE, Jean, « L’après-histoire : Le livre du rire et de l’oubli et L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être de Milan Kundera », dans Jean BESSIÈRE (dir.), Passage du temps, ordre de la transition, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1985, p. 37-53. +++ Chapitre de collectif

RICARD, François, « Des fleuves et d’un chien », dans La littérature contre elle-même, Montréal, Boréal express (Papiers collés), 1985, p. 75-82. +++ Monographie

SUDITU, Loredana, « De l’axe spatial de la recherche de soi chez Milan Kundera », Equinoxes, n° 5 (printemps-été 2005), [article en ligne]. +++ Article de revue

###Cet article traite aussi brièvement du livre L’ignorance.

Suditu, 2005, HTML ###

AUGER, Françoise, « La construction d’un espace identitaire dans les romans de Milan Kundera et d’Hanif Kureishi », mémoire de maîtrise, faculté des lettres, Université Bordeaux III, 2001, 157 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

###Dans le corpus contemporain de Milan Kundera, ce mémoire s’intéresse à L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être. Il traite aussi d’oeuvres antérieures qui ne sont pas considérées ici.

Ce mémoire se divise en trois parties dont les titres sont : Identité menacée, bafouée… quelles possibilités pour l’écriture ? Le roman comme lieu d’une prise de pouvoir : l’écrivain dénonce les valeurs “kitschifiantes” de l’amour et de la révolution devant le tribunal du roman.La mise en mémoire et le recours à la fiction se conjuguent pour rétablir le positionnement du sujet dans le monde imaginaire du roman.###

BRINK, André, « Taking the Gap. Milan Kundera : The Unbearable Lightness of Being », dans The Novel, Language and Narrative from Cervantes to Calvino, London, Macmillan Press, 1998, p. 269-287. +++ Monographie

###Cette monographie s’intéresse à l’évolution du langage narratif à travers l’histoire du roman. Un chapitre est consacré à L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être. ###

PAYNE, Micheal W., « The Unbearable Lightness of Being, or : Problematising the Ethical », Religion & Theology, vol. 13, n° 2, p. 150-174. +++ Article de revue

###Abstract (Academic search premier)
The problem of time has captivated the attention of philosophers, theologians and poets for centuries. In the following article the author addresses the issue of time using the novel The Unbearable lightness of Being by Milan Kundera as the lens through which to view humanity’s experience of time and the variety of options available for making sens out of time. ###

GURSTEIN, Rochelle, « The Warning of Shame in Modern Life : Kundera’s Novels as a Case Study », Social Research, vol. 70, n° 4 (hiver 2003), p. 1259-1276. +++ Article de revue

###Abstract (Academic search premier)
The article examines the characters on Milan Kundera’s novels which includes The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and “The Farewell Party”. The most modest characters in Kundera’s novels are painfully aware of the essential doubleness and vulnerability of bodily experiences while the vulgarian and liberationists treats their own and other’s bodies in the most casual and indiscriminate manner. According to the author, Kundera’s vision of the waning of the shame in modern world suggests that it is time for the readers to reconsider it.

Gurstein, 2006, PDF ###

AN, Myung-Ok, « Forget About Love : Memory and the End of the World in Literature and Film », mémoire de maîtrise, Department of French, Spanish and Italian, University of Manitoba, 2007, 87 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

###Abstract
In my thesis I investigate how four works (two novels and two films) explore issues of memory and forgetting. The first chapter examines Michel Gondry’s film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004); the second chapter examines Haruki Murakami’s novel, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (1985); and the third chapter compares Milan Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984) to the film adaptation (1988) by Philip Kaufman. My central contention is that each of these works, in its own fashion, argues that a certain kind of memory is the foundation of human identity, and that the consequences of intentionally or unintentionally forgetting our private history—including pain and loss—is to lose sight of who we are. I will spend some time considering the form of each of these works, the visual and textual structures of which guide us in different ways through an experience that involves the reader/viewer’s own memory. In my conclusion, I attempt to reveal how all four works, in the very act of dismantling our naïve convictions about identity and perception, ultimately build to a strangely optimistic vision of the possibilities of the human imagination.

La version PDF du mémoire est disponible pour les membres de communautés universitaires qui ont un abonnement intitutionnel auprès de UMI - Proquest###

SLATER, Michelle B., « From the Exile to Asile. Emigre Identity in Modern Europe : Kundera, Makine, and Pamuk », thèse de doctorat, département des langues et des littératures romanes, Johns Hopkins University (Maryland), 2007, 323 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

###Abstract
« Although most studies of expatriate literature in France foreground francophone literature - written by French minorities from third-world countries in Africa or the Caribbean - little attention has been focused on contemporary writers in Paris who are specifically European, such as Milan Kundera and Andreï Makine. In “From Exile to Asile : Émigré identity in Modern Europe,” I argue that Kundera and Makine’s choice to write in French involves a linguistic and political resistance to the notion of patrie ; simultaneously, it challenges the exclusionary French notion of patrie.

I assert that Kundera’s novel L’Ignorancedemonstrates that being at home resides at antinomies between always being at home and never being at home. The French host’s attitude is determined by the French association with Revolution, expecting those in exile to return ‘home’ once a Revolution has been successful, not understanding émigrés’ conflicted relationship to patrie. The émigrés, then, reside in what I am calling a quasi-suspended state, not inscribed in any social order.

In Makine’s novels, identity is contingent in regards to language, self, and national identity ; each of these concepts generates surplus value. In the three Makine novels I examine, Le Testament Français, Requiem pour l’Est, and, La Terre et le ciel de Jacques Dorme, there is a thematic continuity on identity traced from the promise of identity to a cynical dissolution of this problematic concept.

In the concluding chapter, I dialectically consider community’s promise and finitude by foregrounding the individual subjectivities of characters in Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, concluding in a coda on Makine’s Requiem Pour l’Est. In the Epilogue, I take up Orhan Pamuk’s Snow. Although Pamuk is not a francophone writer, the emigration and identitarian themes of his novel are consonant with those examined in this dissertation.

The contemporary immediacy of these texts has prevented me from entering a dialogue with literary critics, since a body of secondary criticism has not yet been established. Aware that the privileged perspective of distance is not possible, given the close proximity to the turn of the century, I capitalize on the immediacy of these novels, connecting them to current polemical issues. »

La version PDF de la thèse est disponible pour les membres de communautés universitaires qui ont un abonnement institutionnel auprès de UMI - Proquest###

LIVERNOIS, Jonathan, « Les romans de Milan Kundera : la dévastation du temple ? », Études françaises, vol. 43, n° 3 (2007), p. 55-69. +++ Article de revue

###Résumé
« Même si Milan Kundera insiste sur la tâche du roman qui consiste à détruire tous les mythes, nous croyons que cette entreprise ne peut y être menée à terme. Dans un monde où toute valeur transcendantale aurait été annulée, où tout aurait été banalisé, le personnage romanesque trouverait difficilement sa voie. C’est ainsi que des éléments sacrés (des mythes et des scènes bibliques), dont la présence n’est pas seulement ironique, donnent de l’ampleur à la vie des personnages de Kundera, les enrichissent d’une tradition mythique qui balise le récit. Deux personnages de L’insoutenable légèreté de l’êtreen sont de bons exemples : le personnage principal, Tomas, est tiraillé entre deux mythes (la naissance de Moïse et l’Androgyne du Banquet) qui organisent sa vie ; Iakov Staline, qui n’apparaît que brièvement dans le roman, y vit une tension analogue (entre sa vie misérable et son statut “divin”) qui se révèle mortifère. »

Livernois, 2007, PDF ###

BRENCE, Steven, « The Unbearable Lightness of Casablanca: In Defense of a Committed Cosmopolitanism », Journal of Speculative Philosophy, vol. 28, n° 4 (2014), p. 422-437. +++ Article de revue

### Abstract
Via exposition of the classic Hollywood film Casablanca, and with reference to Milan Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the nature of cosmopolitanism is critically explored. Both the propagandistic function of the film, justifying American entry into World War II, and the qualified love story at its center are explicated to support a ‘committed’ cosmopolitanism, an understanding of that disposition that would distinguish it from a cynical neutrality, at a political level, and from a self-justifying conception of romantic love, on an interpersonal level.

Brence, 2014, PDF ###

MAI, Joseph, « Humanity’s ‘True Moral Test’: Shame, Idyll, and Animal Vulnerability in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being », Studies in the Novel, vol. 46, n° 1 (printemps 2014), p. 100-116. +++ Article de revue

### Abstract
This essay reinterprets Kundera’s best-known novel through philosophical considerations of vulnerability and the human/animal relationship. It begins with an understanding of irony—associated with Cora Diamond’s notion of embodiment shared by humans and animals—as a counter to Cartesian mastery of nature. It turns to the denial of embodiment through shame and disgust, as theorized by Martha Nussbaum and illustrated with several characters. One main character, Tereza, stands out against a normotic backdrop of human disembodiment (which Kundera calls kitsch). Her acceptance of vulnerability and encounter with shame gradually envelop her spouse, Tomas, as well. The final section examines the novel’s closing pastoral passages, in which a thorough investigation of human and nonhuman animality takes place, leaving the reader somewhere between an extremely empathetic Tereza and a sympathetic but gently skeptical narrator. It describes the novel as a “fallen idyll” where human vulnerability and shame can be expressed and considered.

Mai, 2014, PDF ###

PÉREZ, Rolando, « Milan Kundera and Severo Sarduy: On the Matter of Kitsch », Zenia Sacks DA SILVA et Gregory M. PELL (dir.), At Whom Are We Laughing? Humor in Romance Language Literatures, Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars, 2013, p. 275-285. +++ Chapitre de collectif

BECKWITH, Susanlynne, « Vor[text]tual Time: The Agency of Being-in-Time and Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being », Agnieszka GUTTHY (dir.), Literature in Exile of East and Central Europe, New York, Peter Lang, 2009, p. 121-136. +++ Chapitre de collectif

PETRAS, Martin, « L’Homme qui interroge et l’homme interrogé. À propos de la réception de L’Insoutenable légèreté de l’être en France et en Bohême », , dans Marie-Odile THIROUIN et Martine BOYER-WEINMANN (dir.), Désaccords parfaits: La Réception paradoxale de l’œuvre de Milan Kundera, Grenoble, ELLUG, 2009, p. 59-74. +++ Chapitre de collectif

DIMITRIU, Ileana Sora, « Postmodernism and/as Postcolonialism: On Re-Reading Milan Kundera and Breyten Breytenbach », B. A. S.: British and American Studies/Revista de Studii Britanice și Americane, n° 14 (2008), p. 33-49. +++ Article de revue

SCARPETTA, Guy, « Kundera’s Quartet: On The Unbearable Lightness of Being », dans Peter PETRO (dir.), Critical Essays on Milan Kundera, New York, G. K. Hall, 1999, p. 184-192 +++ Chapitre de collectif

RHINE,Marjorie E., « A Body of One’s Own: The Body as Sanctum of Individual Integrity in Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being », dans Peter PETRO (dir.), Critical Essays on Milan Kundera, New York, G. K. Hall, 1999, p. 231-241. +++ Chapitre de collectif

HANSEN, John, « The Ambiguity and Existentialism of Human Sexuality in The Unbearable Lightness of Being », Philosophy Pathways, n° 194 (juin 2015), en ligne. +++ Article de revue

###Abstract
Nietzsche’s famous principle of ‘eternal return’ or ‘eternal recurrence’, are highlighted in 20th century literary giant Milan Kundera’s renowned novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being (and in the movie adaptation starring Daniel Day Lewis) which is the subject of the essay by John Hansen on ‘The Ambiguity and Existentialism of Human Sexuality in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being’. While Nietzsche’s concepts of identity, consciousness and freedom were conceived contemporaneously with those of Bergson at the end of the 19th century and share similar concerns, Nietzsche’s idea of eternal recurrence, as the essay points out, leads to very different conclusions about them - and these, in turn, are reflected in Kundera’s interpretation. The implications of eternal recurrence for existential freedom and self-identity inform Kundera’s vision of sexuality and human relations throughout the novel, just as they have informed our conception of these experiences in the contemporary intellectual milieu generally. (We also see a brief mention of Beethoven’s philosophical relevance yet again in this essay.) Hopefully, this interpretive insight will encourage philosophers unfamiliar with the novel to read it for themselves.

Hansen, 2015, HTML ###

KINYON-KUCHAR, Kamila, « Models of exile: Koestler, Nabokov, Kundera », thèse de doctorat, University of Chicago, 2000, 267 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

### Abstract
This dissertation examines how the experience of exile, forced displacement from home, is reflected in literary texts by three major twentieth century exilic writers: Arthur Koestler, Vladimir Nabokov, and Milan Kundera. Drawing on personal experience, Theodor Adorno wrote in Minima Moralia : “the writer who no longer has a homeland makes a home in his texts.” Through the willed act of writing, the exilic author, maintaining distancing from the country left behind, strives to reassert control over an externally imposed destiny. Emphasizing issues of literary control, my introduction draws on the thought of Adorno and of contemporary theorists influenced by him, including Said, Steiner, and Seidel.

In my first chapter, I trace Koestler’s attempt to shape his literary legacy through his autobiographies Arrow in the Blue , The Invisible Writing , Dialogue with Death, and Scum of the Earth. I examine Koestler’s image as writer, his distancing from the “ecce homo” motive, and his arguable claim that his life represents “a case history of a Central European member of the intelligentsia in a totalitarian age.” Chapter Two continues to address issues of exilic control through readings of Nabokov’s Speak, Memory, Pnin , and Lolita. My study utilizes the opposition between ostranenie (distancing) and poshlust (sham sentimentality) in Nabokov’s work. This opposition, although mentioned by Diment in his study of Speak, Memory, has received surprisingly little critical attention with regard to Nabokov’s English language novels. Chapter Three considers the relation between distancing and kitsch–a notion akin to poshlust –with regard to Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being. This novel encodes Kundera’s erasure of his Czech past and his increasing assimilation of foreign frameworks, including French theoretical trends such as Foucault’s notion of panopticonism and Lacan’s model of the symbolic, imaginary, and real. Kundera’s fashioning of his literary image is reflected in his posited identity as international writer. In conclusion, I consider how despite authorial attempts at control, the legacies of Koestler, Nabokov, and Kundera elude their will, as biographers and critics reinterpret their works. Nevertheless, the fiction of control fulfills an important psychological function for these and other exiles displaced by totalitarian regimes.

La version PDF de la thèse est disponible pour les membres de communautés universitaires qui ont un abonnement institutionnel auprès de UMI - Proquest ###

MILLER, Lydia, « Ghosts: Questions of morality in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being », mémoire de maîtrise, University of Texas at Dallas, 1995, 89 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

### Abstract
In this thesis, I am suggesting that Milan Kundera’s novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being is an examination of the possibility of moral behavior in a world in which there are no longer any absolutes. Kundera believes that the human need for “order” about their world is a central driving force in their lives, and that it is this need, rather than any particular ordering system a human being may construct which is responsible for the atrocities committed by people in the world today. In the novel, he uses Frederich Nietzsche’s concept of “eternal return” to open an inquire into the spectrum of absolutism and relativism. He believes that the greatest possibility for moral behavior is found in the idea of the Übermensch offers the greatest possibility for accepting moral responsibility for one’s actions. He shows that the Nietzschean concept of moving “beyond good and evil” is contingent upon a human being removing him or herself from the very discourse of absolutism and relativism. He comes to these conclusions through examining the lives of four of his characters through the concept of eternal return. I argue that, no matter how absolute or relative the stance taken by his characters, the only one who is able to get beyond his own limitations and take responsibility for his actions is Tomas. His response of laughter in the face of invalidation serves to offer him greater possibility for behaving morally in a world without absolutes. ###

PICHOVA, Hana, « The theme of exile in Nabokov’s The Gift and Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being », thèse de doctorat, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1991, 167 f. +++ Thèse de doctorat / mémoire de maîtrise

### Abstract
This dissertation deals with two emigre writers of the twentieth century: Vladimir Nabokov and Milan Kundera. The reason for choosing these two writers, whose emigration stands fifty years apart and whose language, cultural heritage, and emigre experience differ, is motivated by a theme that both explore: how to rebuild and sustain a meaningful existence in exile.

In Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, I concentrate on two existential extremes: to live entirely in one’s past or to ignore it altogether. Danger lies in succumbing solely to either of these time frames. Thus, the emigre must strive for balance in order to lead a more fulfilling life. In addition, Kundera’s narrator deals uniquely with another existential problem–freedom. The narrator sympathizes with his characters’ need to free themselves of a totalitarian rule which infringes on their personal and cultural lives. His support becomes apparent by the intentional limitations of his narratorial powers. Such self-imposed restrictions avoid subjugating his characters to the same totalitarian rule they try to escape on the thematic level. Hence, the narrator frees them “structurally.”

In Nabokov’s The Gift, I focus on the journey of the young emigre writer, Fedor, who is in search for a literary voice that will sustain his talent outside of Russia. Fedor undergoes a series of “journeys” in the form of different genres, styles, and literary traditions. One literary journey explores the poetics of Puskin through the biography of Fedor’s father. Another undertakes the literary and cultural past of the nineteenth century civic critic Cernysevskij. In choosing Cernysevskij as subject, Fedor learns how to step outside his personal experience. Only then does he attain the voice he has been searching for.

The conclusion to this study brings the two authors together. It discusses how they wage a literary battle against any form of totalitarianism. Both are disdainful of the way that literature has evolved in their respective countries: Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a reaction to the Socialist Realist novel and Nabokov’s The Gift to the precursors of the Socialist Realist novel. ###



L'insoutenable légèreté de l'être (oeuvre)
TitreL'insoutenable légèreté de l'être
AuteurMilan Kundera
Parution1984
Trilégèreté de l'être
Afficheroui

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