Life: The secret presence

“A novelist talking about the art of the novel is not a professor giving a discourse from his podium. Imagine him rather as a painter welcoming you into his studio, where you are surrounded by his canvases staring at you from where they lean against the walls. He will talk about himself, but even more about other people, about novels of theirs that he loves and that have a secret presence in his own work.”

—Milan Kundera, The Curtain.

(“Giving a discourse” is awkward; I wonder if it’s an artifact from the translation.)

One response

  1. The Curtain is a terrific collection of essays — just as good as his Art of the Novel from before. I think Kundera is mainly referring to commentaries about form, not biography or social meaning. He believes that authors have unique insight into the formal aspects of their own creations.

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