Bachelor of Arts
Milan Kundera, Oedipus
The dialogue Kundera depicts between himself and his characters is central to his work because this interplay mirrors that between the author and the reader. In that Kundera is sometimes a character in his fictions (not just a narrator), we must consider his role in his fiction as one of personas; some stronger, some thicker than others. Kundera, as the self conscious, autobiography-writing narrator of his stories, uses irony to mediate between his and our perspective on the, subject matter. Considering that his narrative tone has remained remarkably similar throughout his novels, and that his subject matter has closely followed the events of his life, we can conjecture that the narrative voice of his novels is not a fictive "lie" as if he was telling the story through a character's consciousness, like Faulkner's The Sound and the I Fury, for instance, but rather that it is some approximation of a "Milan Kundera" character who is the narrator of all his novels. The tone of his novels also serves to screen the reader from the "truth" to be wrested from Kundera; he employs self-deprecation, playfulness, cruelty, and lyricism to set off a spark of mystery in the conversation between himself and his readers.
Lauen, Douglas, "Oedipus Fallen: Irony in the Fiction of Milan Kundera" (1988). Honors Papers. 594.