Immortality is my second Milan Kundera work. It is mildly moderate in comparison to the stark fieriness of The Unbearable Lightness of Being but it was still equally brilliant. Kundera does possess that knack for words that sets him apart from his contemporaries. Immortality is a good read and made me realize the depth of Kundera’s literary repertoire. I still have some more of his works and I am looking forward to devouring them.

Apart from the sheer genius of Immortality, its wonderful language blossomed. It is a well for meaningful and thought-provoking passages and quotes. I have rounded up some of these quotes to showcase the beauty of Kundera’s prose. Without more ado, here they are.

If you haven’t read my review of Immortality yet, click on the picture below:20190811_114056-01.jpeg


 

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“When someone is young, he is not capable of conceiving of time as a circle, but thinks of it as a road leading forward to ever-new horizons; he does not yet sense that his life contains just a single theme; he will come to realize it only when his life begins to enact its first variations.”
~ Milan Kundera, Immortality

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“The serial number of a human specimen is the face, that accidental and unrepeatable combination of features. It reflects neither character nor soul, nor what we call the self. The face is only the serial number of a specimen.”
~ Milan Kundera, Immortality

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“A gesture cannot be regarded as the expression of an individual, as his creation (because no individual is capable of creating a fully original gesture, belonging to nobody else), nor can it even be regarded as that person’s instrument; on the contrary, it is gestures that use us as their instruments, as their bearers and incarnations.”
~ Milan Kundera, Immortality

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“To be mortal is the most basic human experience and yet man has never been able to accept it, grasp it, and behave accordingly. Man doesn’t know how to be mortal. And when he dies, he doesn’t even know how to be dead.”
~ Milan Kundera, Immortality

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“We got our names, too, merely by accident. We don’t know when our name came into being or how some distant ancestor acquired it. We don’t understand our name at all, we don’t know its history, and yet we bear it with exalted fidelity, we merge with it, we like it, we are ridiculously proud of it as if we had thought it up ourselves in a moment of brilliant inspiration.”
~ Milan Kundera, Immortality

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“Just imagine living in a world without mirrors. You’d dream about your face and imagine it as an outer reflection of what is inside you. And then, when you reached forty, someone put a mirror before you for the first time in your life. Imagine your fright! You’d see the face of a stranger. And you’d know quite clearly what you are unable to grasp: your face is not you.”
~ Milan Kundera, Immortality

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“A meadow is nothing but a field of suffering. Every second some creature is dying in the gorgeous green expanse, ants eat wriggling earthworms, birds lurk in the sky to pounce on a weasel or a mouse. You see that black cat, standing motionless in the grass. She is only waiting for an opportunity to kill. I detest all that naïve respect for nature. Do you think that a doe in the jaws of a tiger feels less horror than you? People thought up the idea that animals don’t have the same capability for suffering as human, because otherwise they couldn’t bear the knowledge that they are surrounded by a world of nature that is horror and nothing but horror.”
~ Milan Kundera, Immortality

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“A person is nothing but his image. Philosophers can tell us that it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of us, that nothing matters but what we really are. But philosophers don’t understand anything. As long as we live with other people, we are only what other people consider us to be. Thinking about how others see us and trying to make our image as attractive as possible is considered a kind of dissembling or cheating. But does there exist another kind of direct contact between my self and their selves except through the mediation of the eyes? Can we possibly imagine love without anxiously following our image in the mind of the beloved? When we are no longer interested in how we are seen by the person we love, it means we no longer love.”
~ Milan Kundera, Immortality

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“When we are thrust out into the world just as we are, we first have to identify with that particular throw of the dice, with that accident organized by the divine computer: to get over our surprise that precisely this (what we see facing us in the mirror) is our self. Without the faith that our face expresses our self, without that basic illusion, that arch-illusion, we cannot live or at least we cannot take life seriously. And it isn‘t enough for us to identify with our selves, it is necessary to do so passionately, to the point of life and death. Because only in this way we can regard ourselves not merely as a variant of a human prototype but as a being with its own irreplaceable essence.”
~ Milan Kundera, Immortality

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“’I think, therefore I am,’ is the statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches. ‘I feel, therefore I am,’ is a truth much more universally valid, and it applies to everything that’s alive. My self does not differ substantially from yours in terms of its thought. Many people, few ideas: we all think more or less the same, and we exchange, borrow, steal thoughts from one another. However, when someone steps on my foot, only I feel the pain. The basis of the self is not thought but suffering, which is the most fundamental of all feelings. While it suffers, not even a cat can doubt its unique and uninterchangeable self. In intense suffering the world disappears and each of us is alone with his self. Suffering is the university of egocentrism.”
~ Milan Kundera, Immortality


How about you readers, what quotes and lines from Immortality caught your attention? Do share them in the comment box as I am interested to know your choices.

~ CLB

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