Baring the brain as well as the soul: Milan kundera's the joke

Philosophy and Literature 34 (1):pp. 201-217 (2010)

Abstract
Milan Kundera's first major novel, The Joke, was written in 1961-1965, before he made the decision to leave Czechoslovakia and take up residency as a political exile in France.1 With a few noteworthy exceptions, critics of the work focused on its political message in a Cold War context. This was easy to do: its plot revolves around an avid young Czech communist (Ludvik), who writes an ironic postcard to his overly earnest girlfriend while she is away at a political training camp. The year is 1950, and among intellectuals, enthusiasm for a new era of Soviet-mediated socialism is a genuine response to the chaotic disintegration of old certainties after the Nazi occupation of the country. Ludvik is dedicated to the ..
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DOI 10.1353/phl.0.0085
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