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Milan Kundera (/ ‘mɪlan’ kundɛra /, not / kun’dɛra / Brno, April 1, 1929) is a Czech writer in Czech and French. Since 1975, he has lived with his wife in France, whose citizenship he acquired in 1981. He has been mentioned frequently for years as a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Milan Kundera was born in Moravia in 1929, son of the musicologist and pianist Ludvík Kundera (1891-1971), who was a pupil of Leoš Janáček and served as director of the Brno Academy of Music until 1961. The young Kundera studied musicology and musical composition, being numerous influences and references to music throughout his literary work. At the end of his secondary studies, he began studying literature and aesthetics at the Charles University in Prague, but after two semesters he switched to the Film School of the Prague Academy, where he finished his studies in 1952. He taught film history in Prague. Academy of Music and Art dramatized from 1959 to 1969, and later at the Institute of Cinematographic Studies in Prague.
At the end of the Second World War, Milan Kundera had joined the Communist Party, but then he was expelled from it in 1950, together with his colleague Jan Trefulka, for alleged activities against the party. Jan Trefulka reflected the incident in his work Pršelo jim štěst (1962) and Kundera himself used the episode as an inspiration in his novel La joke (Žert, 1967), and in 1967 he married Vera Hrabankova and a year later, as a result of the Soviet invasion of his country, his works were banned in Czechoslovakia and he became unemployed. He had to make a living with various occupations, particularly as a jazz pianist, an instrument that his father had taught him to play at an early age. Readmitted to the Communist Party in 1956, he was definitively expelled in 1970, having been associated with other Czechoslovak writers, such as Pavel Kohout, in the events of the Prague Spring.
In 1975, Kundera emigrated to France and, between that year and 1980, he taught comparative literature at the University of Rennes, and later at the École des Hautes Études in Paris. Since 1993 he has written his works in French.
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