Testaments betrayed : an essay in nine parts

by Milan Kundera

Paper Book, 1995

Status

Available

Publication

New York : HarperCollins Publishers, c1995.

Description

Testaments Betrayed is written like a novel: the same characters appear and reappear throughout the nine parts of the book, as do the principal themes that preoccupy the author. Kundera once again celebrates the art of the novel, from its birth in a spirit of humor unique to European culture and sensibility - illustrated by some wonderful examples from the work of Rabelais and Cervantes - through its flowering in successive centuries. He notes the novel's mysterious kinship with music and the parallel (but not simultaneous) evolution of the two arts in the West, as well as the particular wisdom the novel offers about human existence. The art of translation is the subject of one part of the book, illuminating the significance of its title. Kundera is a passionate defender of the moral rights of the artist and the respect due a work of art and its creator's wishes. The betrayal of both - often by their most passionate proponents - is on the principal themes of Testaments Bet. Testaments Betrayed is a book rich in ideas about the time in which we live and how we have become who we are, about Western culture in general. It is also a personal essay, in which Kunder discusses the experience of exile - and an impassioned attack on the shifting moral judgements and persecutions of art and artist.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member jwhenderson
Kundera begins with a riff on Rabelais and leads us on a wild tour of European literature from Cervantes to Gombrowicz, with special attention to authors that I love including Musil and Broch. I found this plus his continual focus on the ideas of literature attractive enough; but he essays music as well. There is a wonderful chapter on Janacek and thought-provoking discussion of Stravinsky's place in European music. And with this embedded references to literature, great literature, and his own work, most of which I've yet to read. And did I mention his exceptional essay on Kafka. This is a relatively short book, but one of great depth and breadth. It is simultaneously brilliant music criticism, elegant literary criticism, commentary on the art of writing and translation, and a guide to the great literature of modern Europe. With this book, a loaf of bread and some wine (along with dozens of other texts) one could while away a year or two.… (more)
LibraryThing member rickstill122
Yes, with this book and Kundera's other essay collections "The Curtain" and "The Art of the Novel", one could absorb a knowledge of world literature- what it is, where it came from, where it is going- worthy of two years of University lectures. I would add some coffee to the other reviewer's grocery list. And some cigars. Peppery ones.… (more)

Language

Original language

French
Page: 0.2065 seconds