Milan Kundera’s »Žert« Overviewed: Critical Reception of the Novel at the Time of Its Release and Today

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Komisja Slawistyczna PAN, Oddział w Poznaniu, IFS UAM, Wydawnictwo PRO

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The article deals with critical reflection of the novel Žert (The Joke) in the period from the end of the 1960s up to current reviews. In the first part of the critical historical analysis, the author examines the critical acceptance of the novel in the aftermath of its release (1967–1969), in Czech, Slovak and exiled journals and literary magazines in particular. The second part considers critical reactions to the novel throughout the 1970s and 1980s with an emphasis on the aftermath of its reception in the 1960s, official critical reviews in the era of normalization and its reception in exile and samizdat literature as well. Finally, the last part of the article offers a contemporary critical response to Žert, analyzed on the basis of Czech journals, literary magazines and newly emergent Kundera monographs. The aim of the article is to find out to what extent the critical response to Kundera’s much-respected novel has changed and whether current literary critics read the novel from different points of view than those at the end of the 1960s, when the novel was published for the first time.




Milan Kundera, Žert (The Joke), critical reception, reviews, Host do domu, Literární noviny, writers in exile


Bohemistyka, 2015, nr 1, s. 5-22



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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego