et tu kundera?


Mr Kundera, a recluse for decades, insists that he had no involvement in the affair and is baffled by the document. Communist-era records are not wholly trustworthy. But a statement from the Czech archives says it is not a fake; the incident (if it happened) could help explain why Mr Kundera, then in trouble with the authorities, was allowed to stay at university even though he had been expelled from the Communist Party.

True or not, the story echoes themes of guilt, betrayal and self-interest found in Mr Kundera’s own work, such as “unbearable lightness” (dodged but burdensome responsibility). In “The Owner of the Keys”, a play published in 1962, the hero kills a witness who sees him sheltering a former lover from the Gestapo.

As Mr Kundera himself has written so eloquently, “the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” Under totalitarianism, fairy tales good and bad often trumped truth. Some heroes of the Prague Spring in 1968 had been enthusiastic backers of the Stalinist regime’s murderous purges after the communist putsch of 1948.

more from The Economist here.