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Vladimir Nabokov

I got a copy of "Lolita" in the mail from ranka today, and I was reading the afterword earlier. Reading it, I remembered the main reason why I love this book: the language. It's intelligent, sophisticated, educated, and just sounds so gorgeous. No one writes like Nabokov anymore. Gods, I need to read some of his other books.

Quotes of Vladimir Nabokov, from the afterword of "Lolita":

* After Olympia Press, in Paris, published the book, an American critic suggested that Lolita was the record of my love affair with the romantic novel. The substitution "English language" for "romantic novel" would make this elegant formula more correct.

* As far as I can recall, the initial shiver of inspiration was somehow prompted by a newspaper story about an ape in the Jardin des Plantes who, after months of coaxing by a scientist, produced the first drawing ever charcoaled by an animal: this sketch showed the bars of the poor creature's cage.

* Another charge which some readers have made is that Lolita is anti-American. This is something that pains me considerably more than the idiotic accusation of immorality. Considerations of depth and perspective (a suburban lawn, a mountain meadow) led me to build a number of North American sets. I needed a certain exhilarating milleu. Nothing is more exhilarating than philistine vulgarity. But in regard to philistine vulgarity there is no intrinsic difference between Palearctic manners and Nearctic manners. Any proletarian from Chicago can be as bourgeois (in the Flaubertian sense) as a duke. I chose American motels instead of Swiss hotels or English inns only because I am trying to be an American writer and claim only the same rights that other American writers enjoy. On the other hand, my creature Humbert is a foreigner and an anarchist, and there are many things, besides nymphets, in which I disagree with him. And all my Russian readers know that my old worlds--Russian, British, German, French--are just as fantastic and personal as my new one is.

* Although everybody should know that I detest symbols and allegories (which is due partly to my old feud with Freudian voodooism and partly to my loathing of generalizations devised by literary mythists and sociologists), an otherwise intelligent reader who flipped through the first part described Lolita as "Old Europe debauching young America," while another flipper saw in it "Young America debauching old Europe."


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 27th, 2009 10:09 am (UTC)
Ok, that settles it. Next time you are over you *will* spend some times prowling thru my ebook collection on the networked drive (drive F)
May. 27th, 2009 10:56 am (UTC)
May. 27th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
Gotta love them Russians. Bastards in terms of their political system....geniuses in terms of their literature.

God bless Russian....without it the Western Canon would be much poorer.
May. 27th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
May. 30th, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
He sounds like an author that I would enjoy.
May. 30th, 2009 03:13 am (UTC)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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