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Agnes's Final Afternoon: An Essay on the Work of Milan Kundera


Agnes's Final Afternoon: An Essay on the Work of Milan Kundera Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A model of clarity, grace, and intelligence, François Ricard's book joins the great French tradition of the literary essay as a meditation on the writing of Milan Kundera.

Agnès's Final Afternoon imitates the protagonist of Kundera's novel Immortality on the last afternoon of her life. Like all readers of fiction, Agnès steps out of her car — out of the world of planned routes, responsibilities, and social self — and gives herself up to the discovery of a new landscape, an experience that will transform her. François Ricard's essay enters into the writings of Milan Kundera in much the same way. The landscape he explores includes a chain of ten novels, composed between 1959 and 1999, and two books containing one of the most lucid reflections on the novel.

From The Joke to Ignorance, Ricard uncovers the richness of theme and character in the novels, their structural composition, polyphony of voices, and innovations of form and subject matter that stretch the boundaries of the novel to a breaking point.

Readers need not be familiar with all of Milan Kundera's oeuvre to appreciate this unusual and original book. Agnès's Final Afternoon will inspire a sense of wonder and lead you to appreciate the beauty and profundity of Kundera's art.


"[A] captivating work of literary criticism....For literary scholars and students, it's a gem." Library Journal

Book News Annotation:

Ricard (French literature, McGill U.) explores ten novels (composed between 1959 and 1999) by Milan Kundera. Imitating the protagonist of Immortality (who impulsively leaves her car to walk in the mountains) Ricard aims to abandon the rules and ambitions of literary criticism and instead reflect on the internal experience of reading Kundera. The volume, which is not indexed, was first published in France in 2003 as s-midi d'Agn<`e>s/> by Editions Gallimard.
Annotation 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)


An elegant and sophisticated literary essay on the art of reading Milan Kundera.


Includes bibliographical references (p. [207]-210).


“ A captivating work of literary criticism.”

About the Author

Fran&ccedil;ois Ricard has been a professor of French literature at McGill University since 1971. His collection of essays on contemporary literature, La litt&eacute;rature contre elle-m&ecirc;me, won the Governor General's Award in Canada. His writing about the work of Milan Kundera has been published in literary periodicals in the United States, France, Italy, and Canada. Agn&egrave;s's Final Afternoon, already published in France, will also appear in Great Britain, the Netherlands, and China.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1
The Novel of Fighting 8
The Novel of Exile 16
An Oeuvre's Borders 27
Topography 32
A Single Book 42
About Dogs 51
A Study of Rivers 57
Balzac's Strategy 70
The Path-Novel 88
A Canon for Several Voices 93
Intertwining Stories 99
Stories Dreamed 106
Stories from the Past 113
The Novelist Self 123
The Novel's Thought 134
Thematic Unity 143
The Rehabilitation of Episode 152
The Art of the Chapter 157
The Novelistic Moment 172
The Libertine 181
The Exile 192
Epilogue 203
Bibliography 207

Product Details

An Essay on the Work of Milan Kundera
Translated from the French by:
Aaron Asher
Ricard, Francois
New York
European - General
Kundera, Milan
General Literary Criticism & Collections
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
September 30, 2003
8.58x5.75x.91 in. .90 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Agnes's Final Afternoon: An Essay on the Work of Milan Kundera Used Trade Paper
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Product details 224 pages HarperCollins Publishers - English 9780060005641 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[A] captivating work of literary criticism....For literary scholars and students, it's a gem."
"Synopsis" by , An elegant and sophisticated literary essay on the art of reading Milan Kundera.
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. [207]-210).
"Synopsis" by , “ A captivating work of literary criticism.”
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