Poetics of Scantiness in the Milan Kundera’s Novel “The Festival of Insignificance”

Tetyana Bovsunivska


The article includes analysis of the latest novel by Milan Kundera “The Festival of Insignificance” with a focus on changes in poetics. In particular, it is about the decline and rethinking of the postmodern category of “simulacrum”, which hardly depended on reality and eventually lost touch with it all. The series of images in Kundera's novel has nothing to do with the process of simulacrization of the postmodernism era. The novels “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”, “The Joke” and others by M. Kundera poetize the secondary figures regarding the “axial time” of their age. The mechanism of such poetization often reminds the structure of anecdotes, which undergo an excess growing of the text to such extend that even the essence of the anecdoting pattern, laid in the foundation can stay unnoticed by the reader. The sacralization of everyday life in modern literature canonizes secondary figures and ideas. Presenting a new approach to the image of a person in a new novel, M. Kundera gives preference to the peripheral before the the nuclear, to the marginal before the central and so on. The foundation for the new novel was built on the anecdotes about Stalin and his entourage. This is the reason for the peculiarities of the narration and minimization of the form. Kundera snaps from the history of the USSR such a “funny story” which allows to highlight the spirit of the era. The rise of the meticulousness, of the secondary, of the mediocre, increase of its relevance, of growing demand for it, not only in the mass literature but also in the refined texts of the living classics signals us of radical changes in the entire system of poetic thinking of the modern age.


novel-anecdote; character; peripheral image; poetics of the secondary image; game; episodic character; controversial motif; loss of identity; identity


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