The novelist Milan Kundera is probably the best-known contemporary Czech author in the world. Next week the British publisher Faber and Faber is putting out a special hardback edition of his "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its first publication in English. Strangely enough, the Czech original of the book has never been published in Milan Kundera's native country.
In this week's programme we talk to Zuzana Krupickova about Milan Kundera, and in particular his most recent novel "Ignorance". Zuzana has been living in Paris for over five years and there she took her doctorate on Kundera at the Sorbonne. Last year she also translated into Czech the first French Romantic poet Alphonse de la Martine, the first Czech translation of his Poetic Meditation. But today we focus on "Ignorance", Kundera's study of the nature of exile and return, which was recently translated into English.
April 1st marks the 75th anniversary of the birth of perhaps the best known contemporary Czech novelist in the world, Milan Kundera. Rather surprisingly, the author - who has visited the country on only a couple of occasions since the Velvet Revolution - is less popular in the Czech Republic than he is elsewhere. But why isn't Kundera held in high regard in the country of his birth?
Bradley Abrams is an associate professor of history at Columbia University in New York City, where he specialises in the history of the Czech lands. He received his bachelors degree from the University of Texas and his masters and doctoral degrees from Stanford University. It was at Stanford University that he studied the history of East Europe, and here he describes how a book by Milan Kundera in a Texas bookstore sparked his initial interest in Czech history.