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Off topic: Kundera quote
Thread poster: Nesrin

Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:32
English to Arabic
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Jul 25, 2008

Going through some of my old stuff, I found a piece of paper on which I'd scribbled a quote from "The Book of Laughter and Forgetting" by the wonderful Milan Kundera. Considering that it was written in the 1970s, long before the age of internet blogs, newsgroups and forums, I find it really fascinating:

"The proliferation of mass graphomania* among politicians, cab drivers, women on the delivery table, mistresses, murderers, criminals, prostitutes, police chiefs, doctors, and patients proves to me that every individual without exception bears a potential writer within himself, and that all mankind has every right to rush out into into the streets with a cry: "We are all writers!"

The reason is that everyone has trouble accepting the fact that he will disappear, unheard of and unnoticed, in an indifferent universe, and everyone wants to make himself into a universe of words before it's too late.

Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not far off) we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding."

* Graphomania, as explained earlier by Kundera, is the desire to write books and to have a public of unknown readers.

[Edited at 2008-07-25 15:15]


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Pompeo Lattanzi
Italy
Local time: 04:32
English to Italian
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Thank you! Jul 25, 2008

I don't really like Kundera: his most famous book "Lightness" (yes, I know, it's not the whole title, just my nickname for it...) is one of just three books in my life I could never get around to finish.
But the quote is absolutely brilliant. It shows vision. Thank you very much for sharing it.


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:32
Spanish to English
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Incredible Lightness of Being ... Jul 25, 2008

... is the only work by Kundera that I've read, but unlike Pompeo, I thought it was wonderful.

The quotation I find self-confirming since I am unable to imagine how we are supposed to cope with the spread of blogmania. Who has time to read even the tiniest portion of all these blogs!?!

Initially, I thought, "How wonderful! Anyone will be able to express him or herself and be heard. We will all share information endlessly." But that isn't what is happening to me. I'm overwhelmed by the quantity of material available, and it is very difficult to determine what is relevant to me (at least before reading a few paragraphs -- and often finding the writing incomprehensible or simply boring).

I fear we are becoming beings of sci-fi, who will only experience the world through their computer connections rather than by the "doing" of life. Somewhere between reading and writing, there has to be the experience of living.

So, thanks, Nesrin, for sharing!

Patricia


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:32
English to Arabic
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TOPIC STARTER
Kundera Jul 25, 2008

I idolise the man. When he digresses from the main storylines and starts expounding on the most diverse topics, I'm going "Yes, exactly, that's what I've always thought, thank you!" It's such a relief when you find someone expressing your vague thoughts and ideals in a way you never could.
I liked "The unbearable lightness" esp. because I read it right after watching the film and was delighted by all the digressions which of course weren't included in the film. That's what got me hooked to him. Right now I'm reading his first novel, The Joke.

Here's another bit from the same book (Book of Laughter) - completely unrelated to the above quotation though. Replace the word "Communist" with "religious fundamentalist" and it'll still make perfect sense (the "opponents" being the secularists):

"Yes, say what you will – the Communists were more intelligent. They had a grandiose program, a plan for a brand-new world in which everyone would find his place. The Communists' opponents had no great dream; all they had was a few moral principles, stale and lifeless, to patch up the tattered trousers of the established order. So of course the grandiose enthusiasts won out over the cautious compromisers and lost no time turning their dream into reality: the creation of an idyll of justice for all.
Now let me repeat: an IDYLL for ALL. People have always aspired to an idyll, a garden where nightingales sing, a realm of harmony where the world does not rise up as a stranger against man nor man against other men, where the world and all its people are molded from a single stock and the fire lighting up the heavens is the fire burning in the hearts of men, where every man is a note in a magnificent Bach fugue and anyone who refuses his note is a mere black dot, useless and meaningless, easily caught and squashed between the fingers like an insect"


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:32
English to Arabic
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TOPIC STARTER
Well said, Patricia :-) Jul 25, 2008

Patricia Rosas wrote:

I fear we are becoming beings of sci-fi, who will only experience the world through their computer connections rather than by the "doing" of life. Somewhere between reading and writing, there has to be the experience of living.



I'm hoping it will take a few years before people start realising what fools they were to think they were sharing their thoughts with the world, or even to WANT to share their thoughts with an anonymous world in that way.


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Tomas Mosler, DipTrans IoLET MCIL MITI  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 04:32
Member (2008)
English to Czech
here Jul 25, 2008

Nice to see a little acclaim abroad for "something" Czech here.

Funnily, when I was contacted months ago by a client, he also mentioned this writer...


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:32
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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Spot on! Jul 25, 2008

Nesrin wrote:
Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not far off) we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding."


I completely agree. The more blogs there are out there, the less blogs I read, as I fail to see the purpose of reading about somebody's trouble with dogs and underpants, cherry tomato growth or celebrities' bra sizes.

Everyone has a right to express in a blog, but... please make it interesting and creative, like something about dogs wearing second-hand celebrity bras and pierced underpants while they water cherry tomato plants or something!


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Sundar Gopalakrishnan
India
Local time: 08:02
English to Tamil
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Wonderful Writer! Jul 26, 2008

Pompeo Lattanzi wrote:

I don't really like Kundera. . .


Milan Kundera is a wonderful writer. Even though I have read just one short story by him (the story about the young professor in "Laughable Loves" collection), I liked his writing very much. I am very eager to read his other works too. If it were up to me, I'd give him a Nobel Prize!


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