Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Milan Kundera's The Curtain

Review: The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts by Milan Kundera. Trans. from French by Linda Asher. (New York: Harper Collins, 2005) 168pp.

Milan Kundera's essay draws the curtain back to reveal the treasures of "die Weltliteratur" as he traces the threads of continuity in novels by Rabelais, Cervantes, Fielding, Dostoevsky, Kafka and many more. He eschews the cultural "isms" that weigh down our understanding of literature.
Although a work of non-fiction, The Curtain is a beautiful exposition on aesthetics as it is applied not only to literature, but to music as well. Kundera tells us to read and re-read with new eyes, unfettered by pre-imposed cultural and socio-economic distinctions.
As Kundera outlines the "fragility of human certainties" found is so much of the world's great literature and implores us to understand the true worth of the novel so that we can embrace both its history and its essence. This is a poetic work of literary criticism that will be a worthwhile read for anyone interested in literary art.