Milan Kundera on Politics and the Novel


  • Yvon Grenier St. Francis Xavier University


HIC, 2006, Yvon Grenier


This article examines Milan Kundera's perspective on politics and the mission of the novel. For him, the novelist can examine politics from outside, from the higher position of art and the novel. S/he can provide lucid comments on politics while resisting the siren song of shared political emotions and political ideologies. This article presents and then assesses the merits and limitations of this position.

Author Biography

Yvon Grenier, St. Francis Xavier University

Yvon Grenier is Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada. He is the author of Guerre et pouvoir au Salvador (Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 1994), The Emergence of Insurgency in El Salvador (University of Pittsburgh Press and Macmillan, 1999), Art and Politics: Octavio Paz and the Pursuit of Freedom (Rowman and Littlefield, 2001; Spanish trans. for the Fondo de Cultura Económica in 2004), and Gunshots at the Concert: Literature and Politics in Latin America (with Maarten van Delden, Vanderbilt University Press, forthcoming). He also edited (selection of texts and introduction) Octavio Paz, Sueño en libertad, escritos politicos (Seix Barral, 2001).