Milan Kundera is a writer of essays, poetry, plays and novels. He studied literature in Prague and taught world literature. His successful debut novel, Žert (The Joke), appeared in 1967, on the eve of the 1968 Prague Spring followed by the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Following these events, Kundera was not allowed to publish his work due to his reformist political position. He therefore left for France in 1975. Kundera’s work is described as cynical, existentialist, melancholy and philosophical, as the titles of his works aptly demonstrate: he wrote Kniha smíchu a zapomnění (The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, 1978), Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, 1984), Nesmrtelnost (Immortality, 1990) and L’Ignorance (Ignorance, 2000).