It is believed that Milan Kundera, on one hand uses the technique multiple narration to implement his major themes, and on the other hand, inserts the polyphony of music into the realm of his novel. As a matter of fact, for Kundera the narrative structure of The Joke resembles much to that of a musical note. While each note contains uniqueness on its own, it combines and accords with other notes to produce a coherent whole. This multi-perspectival narrative style helps the writer to put in the picture the intended themes of the story through a polyphonic narrative.
It is only inside history that we can see what is new and what is repetitive, what is discovered and what is imitation; in other words, only inside history can a work exist as a value capable of being discerned and judged.
Nothing seems to me worse for art than to fall outside Afternoon agness essay final kundera milan work own history, for it is a fall into the chaos where aesthetic values can no longer be perceived.
Thus humor is not laughter, not mockery, not satire, but a particular species of the comic, which renders ambiguous everything it touches.
By analyzing a country's history through its cinematic, artistic, and literary works, a national narrative can be unearthed. The aesthetic techniques of filmmakers, writers, and artists are causally linked to their surrounding environment, as nation and narration interconnect.
Under the assumption that an artistic text reflects its historical context, it is impossible to read any text in isolation. From the Soviet invasion of to the Velvet Revolution ofCzechoslovakian artists fashioned innovative means to communicate about the ills of Communism beneath the oppressive apparatus of the State censor.
Dark humor, satire, irony, paradox, allegory, and other forms of rich aesthetic play enabled critiques of larger systems of power in Czechoslovakia to surface.
Road Map and Thesis: Then I will illustrate how the barricades of Czechoslovakian State censorship contributed to the conception of key stylistic means for communication through the use of dark satire, irony, paradox, absurdity, and playfulness. And finally, by broadening the scope of my perspective to other international filmmaking techniques of confronting weighty socio-political issues, I will contrast the humor used in Czech New Wave films to other movements such as Third Cinema and Italian Neorealism.
A Harum-Scarum Assault on National Memory Extended periods of occupation and the shifting of political and geographical borders by external powers mark the twentieth-century history of Central Bohemia. From the Munich Agreement where Western powers signed over Czechoslovakian territory to Nazi Germany to the — era of Soviet occupation, Czechoslovakians found Ebersole 3 themselves passively resisting foreign forces whose goal was to sweep the nation and its people into a storm of forced forgetting.
State-sponsored amnesia characterized Communism and paired with the reimagining of national memory through propaganda films. Their books are destroyed, their learning, their history. Pulled from their positions, artists and intellectuals refusing to participate or comply were frequently forced into exile or silenced altogether in concentration camps or political prisons.
This paradox pushed Czechoslovaks to cleverly utilize humor as a means of subverting State censorship and control.
Jouissance, Paradox, Irony, Satire, Allegory: Dark caricatures intermixed with philosophical allegories and paradoxical, sardonic, and ironic narrative schemes. The world of Kafka is one of magic realism where a man wakes up as beetle frantically worrying about how he will make it to work Metamorphosis and one of judicial labyrinths where characters journey through bureaucratic mazes to be put on trial and prosecuted for unknown crimes The Trial.
Ebersole 5 The use of allegory can build an ambiguous wall blurring the boundaries between the lie and the truth. By semantically and semiotically decoding Czechoslovakian cultural productions from toone can dissect the aesthetic and stylistic techniques that aided in masking socio-political critiques and illuminate the historical situation of a cobblestoned country in the heart of Europe struggling to retain and determine for itself its cultural memory.
To elucidate concrete examples that support my previous analysis, I will show how Kundera and Forman use irony and paradox as a form of socio-political critique.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a story about the ironies of love set in the backdrop of the Czechoslovak Soviet invasion. To break the story down in simplistic Ebersole 6 terms, it is about the teeter-tottering love of a small-town woman, Tereza, and a womanizer, Tomas.
By the close of the novel, Tomas finally gives in to the vertigo of love and weight of monogamy for Tereza. The last paragraph of the novel pictures a butterfly, a common motif for beauty and change, paradoxically trapped in a room. They leave Prague to avoid political oppression and be together, only for their departure to inadvertently cause their fateful death.
He offers a memorable speech full of reflective gratitude and then gazes down to open his gift. Retrospective Resonance and Relevance: What was initially agreed on to be a collaborative public installation where artists from each of the European Union member states offer visual renditions of their respective countries quickly turned into a postmodern performative prank on Europe.
This prank later led to Bulgarian and Slovakian protest and the temporary censorship of a segment of the installation. It is a giant interactive model kit covering approximately 2,square feet and measuring feet high and wide with plastic pop- out pieces of European Union member states presented by their stereotypes.
Bulgaria is made up of Turkish squat toilets and Poland has priests appearing in the style of Iwo Jima holding a rainbow flag. Romania is represented as a Dracula-themed park and Italy shows football players suggestively masturbating with their soccer balls.
Ebersole 8 The grotesque exaggeration and satirical joking, characteristic of Czech art, did not translate well for the European Union.
It is not mean to offend anybody … We knew the truth would come out. Class Connections and Conclusion Comedy is used by artists all over the world as a lens that sheds light and perspective on controversial topics.Milan Kundera, in his essay collection “Testaments Betrayed,” anatomizes the more peripheral European cultures, using his native Czechoslovakia as a specimen.
I wrote a lot of the essays in that collection before I knew it would be a collection. But that last essay I definitely wrote as the final essay in the collection. Francois Ricard, author of Agnes's Final Afternoon: An Essay on the Work of Milan Kundera, on LibraryThing. Francois Ricard, author of Agnes's Final Afternoon: An Essay on the Work of Milan Kundera, on LibraryThing.
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