In all his essays he holds firmly to his sense of what the novel can do - its raison d'être, as he calls it, which is to say 'only what novels can say.' He lists the chief foes of the novel: people with no sense of humour (he uses the term Rabelais coined, agélastes), kitsch, which he defines in his Jerusalem Address as 'the translation of the stupidity of received ideas into the language of beauty and feeling' rather than the way it is generally used by Anglophone speakers (which is to describe a kind of tinselly bad taste) and lyricism. In fact, in his so-called essay in seven parts, his penultimate book, The Curtain, he writes:
If I imagine the genesis of a novelist in the form of an exemplary tale, a 'myth,' that genesis looks to me like a conversion story: Saul becoming Paul; the novelist being born from the ruins of his lyrical world.
However, ironically, this image has a little too much of what Kundera says he detests because, although the biblical story tells of someone at last getting to see clearly, the curtain torn, what is this sense of the world that Paul now sees without hindrance? In Paul, Saul has entered what Kundera elsewhere calls the Lyrical Age.
Perhaps one day Kundera will also write of the moment when Paul, through yet another curtain (or is it in fact the same?), becomes once more the Saul that he has always been.