Latest Issue

Unbearable slowness

Communism in eastern Europe created a unique literary-philosophical tradition. Lesley Chamberlain surveys this tradition both before and after the collapse of communism. She prefers Ivan Klima to Milan Kundera, but likes Christa Wolf best of all

Two cheers for communism. It gave us some wonderful books. What now? The Czech scientist and poet Miroslav Holub suggests, in the latest British Council volume of New Writing, that things aren’t all bad in the Czech Republic. That’s a characteristically superior view. But the question is why the books written under communism were so good, and stand the test of rereading out of season.

Milan Kundera can’t be ignored, because he has acquired such a reputation worldwide. But he has always seemed restless about that reputation, barely fictionalising bits of his biography to make a fantastic statement about all…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect