Kundera and Modernity

Overview


While a large amount of scholarship about Milan Kundera’s work exists, in Liisa Steinby’s opinion his work has not been studied within the context of (European) modernity as a sociohistorical and a cultural concept. Of course, he is considered to be a modernist writer (some call him even a postmodernist), but what the broader concept of modernity intellectually, historically, socially, and culturally means for him and how this is expressed in his texts has not been thoroughly examined. Steinby’s book fills this ...
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Kundera and Modernity

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Overview


While a large amount of scholarship about Milan Kundera’s work exists, in Liisa Steinby’s opinion his work has not been studied within the context of (European) modernity as a sociohistorical and a cultural concept. Of course, he is considered to be a modernist writer (some call him even a postmodernist), but what the broader concept of modernity intellectually, historically, socially, and culturally means for him and how this is expressed in his texts has not been thoroughly examined. Steinby’s book fills this vacuum by analyzing Kundera’s novels from the viewpoint of his understanding of the existential problems in the culture of modernity. In addition, his relation to those modernist novelists from the first half of the twentieth century who are most important for him is scrutinized in detail. Steinby’s Kundera and Modernity is intended for students of modernism in literary and (comparative) cultural studies, as well as those interested in European and Central European studies.Key Points:Offers new insights into the work of the popular modern writer Milan Kundera.Expands the reader’s understanding of the meaning of the concept of “modernity.”Widens the literature available in English about Central European culture.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This work is superb. By examining the works and traditions that Kundera claims to have influenced him, Steinby demonstrates how Kundera’s misreading of previous novelists as well as his own desire to be taken out of the Czech or Central European context has informed his own work. This book is the result of many years of painstaking research.” - Craig Cravens, Indiana University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557536372
  • Publisher: Purdue University Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2013
  • Series: Comparative Cultural Studies Series
  • Pages: 249
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Liisa Steinby (until 2007 Liisa Saariluoma) teaches comparative literature at the University of Turku. Her interests in research include aspects of modernity in the novel from the eighteenth century to the present. Her single-authored book publications include Der postindividualistische Roman (1994), Nietzsche als Roman. Über die Sinnkonstituierung in Thomas Manns Doktor Faustus (1996), Erzählstruktur und Bildungsroman. Wielands Geschichte des Agathon, Goethes Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (2004), and Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre und die Entstehung des modernen Zeitbewusstseins (2005). She has published fourteen collected volumes in addition to about seventy scholarly articles.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Chapter 1 Kundera, a European Novelist 1

Chapter 2 The Legacy of Cervantes 23

Chapter 3 Falling Out of History 44

Chapter 4 Unmasking, Thought, and Analysis in the Post-Proustian Novel 65

Chapter 5 The Thematic Structure of Kundera's Novels 83

Chapter 6 The Sentimental and the Authentic Self 114

Chapter 7 The Dangers of Forgetting and Laughter 134

Chapter 8 Hedonism, Aestheticism, and Love as Modes of Authentic Sense Giving 152

Chapter 9 Lightness and Death 182

Chapter 10 The End of Modernity, the End of the Novel? 207

Works Cited 227

Index 247

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