Second Half of Milan Kundera’s Library Transported To Brno

Kundera and his wife Věra made the decision to donate the author’s whole collection over two years ago. Photo credit: MZK.  

Brno, Oct 8. (BD) – On 5-6 October, the second and last part of Milan Kundera’s library was handed over in Paris, for transport to the Moravian Regional Library in Brno. As in June, when the first part was brought over, Tomáš Kubíček, the director of the library, was there to meet the author’s wife, Věra Kunderová, and personally accompany the precious cargo back home to Moravia.

The decision of Milan and Věra Kunderová for the writer’s archive and library to become part of the collection of the Moravian Regional Library was made more than two years ago. This was followed by months of planning and delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

For this reason, the first part of the donation was only moved at the end of June this year. The shipment of 18 fully loaded boxes contained Milan Kundera’s document archive, including correspondence with publishers, and reviews of his books which his publishers sent to the author. There were also dozens of literary prizes that Kundera won for his work, including the famous Jerusalem Prize, and a rich collection of photographs.

Věra Kunderová said she views the transport of the library “with a strange calmness mixed with sadness from something ending to start somewhere else… Milan is returning home, in a way, to his native Brno, to the city he thought about with longing all his life in France – and only I know that, and two or three friends.”

“We are aware of the importance of what Brno, but also the entire Czech culture, is getting in the form of this gift,” added Kubíček. “It is a gift that is not only material, but also symbolic. And it is to this symbolic message to which the Milan Kundera Library, which we plan to open at the beginning of next year, will be dedicated. In its premises, there will also be a book collection, which we are now transporting from Paris.”

The second part of Kundera’s library, which arrived in Brno on Friday, 7 October, is more voluminous than the first, and contains mainly Kundera’s own collection of books. The original edition of Michel de Montaigne’s Essays, which was first published in Bordeaux in 1580, is unique. The print, itself worth millions, was part of the Grand Prix littéraire Château La Tour Carnet, which Milan Kundera won in 2017.

After all the materials have been transported to the Moravian Regional Library, everything will be sorted, processed, digitised and made available to researchers and readers in the newly built Milan Kundera Library.

The transfer of Milan Kundera’s extensive library and archive was made possible through the support of Věra Kunderová and the Czech Centre in Paris.

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