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Intertextual Studies on the Unbearable Lightness of Being

Author ZhangYang
Tutor HuangXiaoYan
School Hunan University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Milan Kundera The Unbearable Lightness of Being Intertextuality The Castle Oedipus
CLC I524.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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Milan Kundera’s well-known work The Unbearable Lightness of Being has shownthe terminal paradox of human’s existence and the possibilities of human based on thisbackground through the four characters’ different life choices and endings. This thesis,based on intertextual theory, emphasizes on the studies on the relations of inheritanceand development towards the previous texts, which also achieves Kundera’s ideasabout the continuity of novels. As Kristeva has pointed out,“any text is constructed asa mosaic of quotations; any text is the absorption and transformation of another”.Firstly, it is found that The Unbearable Lightness of Being has closed relations withThe Castle in the characters, plots and motifs though applying the parody and allusionand Kundera’s special thinking about Kafka’s terminal paradox is uncovered byKundera’s use of the most simple intertextual skill-negation. Secondly, it is seen thatKundera has dug out two possible traps of human existence by the development of thetwo inclinations of the hero K. in Kafka’s The Castle. Finally, this thesis studies thetwo transpositions of the text Oedipus in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, thenpoints out the significance of these two transpositions towards the meaningconstruction of The Unbearable Lightness of Being and finally discovers the encasedanswers towards the terminal paradox of human life.By the intertextual studies on The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the inheritanceand development of Kundera towards the previous literary tradition is fully shown andthe special perspective and value of thinking is soundly unfolded. The most importantis that this thesis finds the different emphases and the internal relation of the two textsThe Castle and Oedipus used by Kundera in The Unbearable Lightness of Being andfinally provides a new research perspective towards The Unbearable Lightness ofBeing.

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