Roger Caldwell

Misunderstood Artists

Testaments Betrayed: An Essay in Nine Parts


Faber & Faber 256pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Milan Kundera has a light touch. His novels play on ideas with an intellectual adroitness rarely to be found in Anglo-Saxon writers. They also display a sly sense of humour which is all too liable to lead to misunderstanding by less than attentive readers. The central theme of these interlinked essays is precisely those failures of understanding which tend to pervert the reception of an artist’s work. He pursues this leitmotif through the work of some of the writers and composers to whom he feels closest – here pre-eminently Kafka, Janáček and Stravinsky – but allows himself space for digression on whatever emerges en route. The transition in Kundera from novelist to essayist is an easy one. Just as the novels are full of essayistic asides, so his essays are full of novelistic episodes.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,