The Festival of Insignificance


Title: The Meaningless Celebration

Author: Milan Kundera

Translator: Elham Darchinian

Publisher: drops

Subject: Novel – French philosophy

Age category: Adult

Number of pages: 120

Language: Farsi



The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera’s famous and philosophical work focuses on issues such as human communication, loneliness, meaning, and nonsense. In this book, Kundera, with a humorous tone and language, refers to the meaningless bitterness and bitterness of relationships and the filth of life.

About the book The Festival of Insignificance
In “The Meaningless Celebration”, Milan Kundera addresses the most important issues of the world and humanity under a brighter light, without even using a serious sentence, as if he is fascinated by the realities of the contemporary world, but avoids realism. Those who have read Kundera’s previous books know that the desire to write a novel in which “non-seriousness” is an integral part of the body was not unexpected.

In many chapters of the novel “Immortality”, Goethe and Hemingway walk around, talk and have fun. Later, in the novel “Slowness”, Vera, the author’s wife, tells her husband: “You have told me many times that you would like to write a novel one day that does not contain any serious words … I will tell you from now on “Be careful, your enemies are lurking that day.”
Kundera, however, does not shy away from giving life to his long-held aesthetic dream in The Feast of Nonsense, a novel that is a wonderful summary of all his work. A weird and funny summary with a funnier ending, so we laugh, that’s the era we live in, an age that’s like a comedy, because it’s completely lost its sense of humor. What else can be said about the “celebration of meaninglessness”? No, hold the book and read!

About the book The Festival of Insignificance:
The novel, which is compiled in seven chapters, deals with separate philosophical issues in each section. There is no uniform flow throughout the novel The Festival of Insignificance. These different stories tell the story of the disintegration of human beings. In one of the stories, for example, Ellen is one of the main characters looking for a mother who leaves her at the age of 10 and talks to her mother in her mind.

Another character, Roman, runs away from others so much that, despite his great interest in visiting the exhibition of Marc Chagall’s paintings, he regrets doing so by watching the people present in the exhibition.

You will understand the purpose of Milan Kundera in writing this book in small sections at the end of the novel. With his non-linear and modern narrative, he regularly presents you with a puzzle of form and content, and for this reason, it will be interesting for you to find the relationships between each section of the book.
In this novel, Kundera deals with the various relations of individuals and the lost human identity with philosophical language and expresses the philosophical thoughts and views of Kant, Schopenhauer and Hegel through the language of the book’s characters. Parts of the novel make direct references to totalitarian governments as well as members of the Soviet Communist Party and to political issues and the type of government.

The author critically examines human relations, especially the relationship between couples. In the book, meaningless celebration is observed in the relationships of erotic people in the grotesque way. Although Kundera only mentions the names of the characters, he deals with the relationships between them. One of the features of this work is the avoidance of characterization. This book is fascinating, but it does not have a strong story, because Kundera has deliberately avoided storytelling.

The Festival of Insignificance has a faint plot, and it can be said that in none of Kundera’s previous works has such a faint plot been seen. The story is portrayed without characterization, without strong plot, and without storytelling, and this incidentally demonstrates the power and art of Kundera’s writing. The narration of the book is based on the situation and by using these tricks, it provides you with a lot of traction.
Milan Kundera raises his mental concerns during his 84 years of life with philosophical issues such as identity crisis, lost identity, tragedy of forgetfulness, meaninglessness of characters and loneliness of man in the present age, and engages your mind with a series of philosophical questions.

This novel is a continuation of Kundera’s novel writing tradition and, like his other books, explores deep philosophical concepts such as the emptiness of relationships. The different tone he has chosen for this book is one of the differences between this work and his other works. Kundera has used humor and humor in his other novels as well, but his humorous tone in his book The Meaningless Celebration, the repetition of seemingly irrelevant issues, and his bitter and immeasurable jokes distinguish this work from his other works.

Kundera has used humor and humor as a writing tool to illustrate this nonsense, and he has been very successful in doing so. The repetition of events and the cyclical course of this emptiness, which can be seen in the relationships of the four main characters and can be seen in the whole work, reveals his nihilistic point of view.
The book begins at the garden of Luxembourg on a street in France and ends at the garden. In this circle, the thoughts of prominent thinkers are presented, but in the end no meaning for life is found.

In a meaningless celebration, four friends gather together for a birthday party. These four Parisian men are the four main characters in the book, named Charles, Roman, Caliban and Ellen. Caliban is a failed actor, and Charles is the director of a catering center. Ellen is in a relationship with a much younger woman, and Roman is a retired university professor. The four are introduced at the same time in different conversations, and at a party hosted by Charles, they come together and face a complex issue.

Who is recommended to read the book of meaningless celebration?
If you are interested in philosophical novels, you will enjoy this book very much.

Learn more about Milan Kundera:
Milan Kundera was born on April 1, 1929 in Czechoslovakia. He was deported to France in 1975 and became a citizen in 1981. Hence, he considers himself a French writer. Before the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in 1989, the communist government banned his works in the Czech Republic.

Kundera has been nominated for the Nobel Prize several times. His first play, The Key Holders, was published in 1961, referring to the era of violence and fear of the German government. From 1958 to 1968, he wrote ten stories called Funny Love. Kundera wrote his first novel, Joke, in 1967.
In 1984, he wrote the book Unbearable Style, which in Iran is known as the burden of existence. This work is his most popular book. In 1988, American director Philip Kaufman made a film based on the book of the same name.

Kundera published the book Immortality in 1990. Unlike his other works, this book has a deeper and more philosophical content. His other books include Jokes, Farewell Party, Laughter and Oblivion, Ignorance, Slowness, Clementis Hat, Distorted Testaments, Life is Elsewhere, Waltz Farewell, and more.

In a part of the book, we read :
The traffic light turned red. Allen stood up. Passers-by were walking across the street.

And the mother continued, “Look at them; Look at them! At least half of the people you see are ugly. Is being ugly also a human right? And do you know that being ugly accompanies you for the rest of your life and does not leave you comfortable even for a moment? Or you did not choose your gender; Or eye color; Or the age in which you live; Or your country; Or your mother; None of them; “The rights that a person has to deal with are worthless things for which there is no reason to fight or write a statement!”

Allen walked again and his mother’s voice calmed down. “Because I was weak, you are here now. “It was my fault, forgive me!”
Allen was silent. Then he said in a low voice, “Why do you feel guilty? Because you were not strong enough to stop me from being born? “Or because you could not adjust to my life, which by the way was not too bad?”

“Maybe you are right, in which case I committed two sins,” the mother said after a moment of silence.

“I have to apologize,” Allen said. “I fell like a lump in your life and forced you to go to America.”

“Stop apologizing! What do you know about my life, my little idiot? Can I call you stupid? Yes, do not be angry; I think you idiot! And do you know where this stupidity comes from? Out of goodness. “You are a stupidly good person.”

Index of the book The Festival of Insignificance
Part One: Introducing the Heroes
Part II: The Tent Show
Part 3: Allen and Charles often think of their mothers
Section 4: They are all looking for happiness
Section 5: A small feather flies under the roof
Part Six: The Fall of the Angels
Section 7: The Meaningless Celebration

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