The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts (Paperback)

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“A magic curtain, woven of legends, hung before the world. Cervantes sent Don Quixote journeying and tore through the curtain. The world opened before the knight-errant in all the comical nakedness of its prose.”

In this thought-provoking, endlessly enlightening, and entertaining essay on the art of the novel, renowned author Milan Kundera suggests that “the curtain” represents a ready-made perception of the world that each of us has—a pre-interpreted world. The job of the novelist, he argues, is to rip through the curtain and reveal what it hides. Here an incomparable literary artist cleverly sketches out his personal view of the history and value of the novel in Western civilization. In doing so, he celebrates a prose form that possesses the unique ability to transcend national and language boundaries in order to reveal some previously unknown aspect of human existence.

Praise For…


“An elegant, personalized integration of anecdote, analysis, scholarship, memory and speculation...Kundera’s opinions...are well worth listening to.”

“A work of sophisticated literary cartography…agreeably studded with insights.”

“Essential reading in a long history of debates about the genre...Wise, deep, and witty.”

“Kundera…argues brilliantly…Discarding chronology, Kundera lets us witness the inner workings of his....wonderful reader’s mind.”

“As the French expression goes, Kundera always gives you furiously to think…[He] writes…with passion.”

“Lovely, meandering observations on the genre to which he has consecrated his life…Like good love stories, it pulls you in.”

“Kundera offers witty and edifying improvisations on…favorite themes…Anyone interested in the novel will delight in this book.”

“Well-worth reading…witty and brisk and very smart, like all of [Kundera’s] writing.”

“A swiftly told, beautifully crafted, pleasurable...scrutiny of the novel ...To Mr. Kundera, the novel is a liberating force.”

“Bursting at the seams with ideas…Kundera dashes irrepressibly around his own studio...to consistently fascinating effect. A rare pleasure.”

“Kundera is assuredly one of the great living writers…This is a remarkable book….Absorbing and sometimes sublime.”

“Brilliant, vehement, learned and wise…Stimulating and provocative…THE CURTAIN raises essential questions.”

“Kundera’s essay so perfectly distilles an approach to art that it realigns the way an art form is understood.”

“Evocative...Kundera marvelously conducts us on a journey through the history of the novel.”
Product Details
ISBN: 9780060841959
ISBN-10: 0060841958
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: December 26th, 2007
Pages: 176
Language: English