The rapid rise of “trigger warnings” is starting to impact literature curriculums. For instance, Columbia University students lobbied to include warnings on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a core text in Western Literature syllabi. Columbia refused to include warnings, but essentially capitulated by expunging the text from its curriculum entirely....more
Posts Tagged: Nabokov
How do we reread and is it necessary? Tim Parks demystifies the art of going back to a text for the third, fourth and fifth time....more
At the New York Times, Alice Gregory and Pankaj Mishra discuss the role of moralism in the novel—and conclude that authors should seek to question and provoke rather than preach:
Not only does moral preoccupation corrupt the artfulness of fiction, but fiction is an inefficient and insincere vehicle for moralizing.
At the New Yorker, John Colapinto explores Nabokov’s quintessentially American classic, Lolita, and just how a Russian-born writer could so perfectly capture American culture as an emigre, working specifically with Robert Roper’s new biography on the great writer, Nabokov in America: On the Road to ‘Lolita.’ Of specific and extremely endearing interest: Nabokov’s obsession with the kitsch, and an ad he titled “Adoration of Spoons.”...more
(n.); the process of forgetting;
“Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. When we read a book for the first time, the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation.”
–Vladmir Nabokov, from “Good Readers and Good Writers”
This week, Tim Parks takes us on a wonderfully meditative reflection on something we tend, as readers, to take for granted: the physical act of moving one’s eyes across the page, of engaging with words, and—unavoidably—forgetting them....more
Reading is solitary and personal, but you aren’t necessarily alone in it. In some ways, we are all reading together; even if we are also reading alone.
Professor and translator, David Bellos celebrates the enlightening task of translation in his new book, Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything....more
Four days ago was the anniversary of Vladimir Nabokov’s death and this Paris Review blog remembers the wordsmith/butterfly catcher as the compelling professor and famous author that he became.
There’s even a vague Lady Gaga comparison/reference. And did you know he’s the only author to strictly abide by the self-interview rules?...more
The books I love are those tangled and overflowing: their magic is the product of the trust the author puts in his talent
Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle is nothing less than brimming, and it writhes in beauty from first to last; it is difficult to deconstruct its brilliance, which is many-branched....more
I was out last week on vacation, but I’m back. And there’s a lot to catch up on. Here goes …...more
Shortly after I posted a story about an author’s experience of book design, I accidentally opened my copy of McSweeney’s 4, which consisted of a box of pamphlets, and I found that one pamphlet comprised an essay by Paul Maliszewski, called “Paperback Nabokov”, about Vladimir Nabokov’s experience of paperback cover design....more
Five short stories modeled on the works of the old masters make up this smart, witty first collection...more
Silencieux is the mute heroine of The Worshipper of the Image, Richard La Galliene’s little known fairy-tale from 1900. She has no body, only a serene face, and as the narrator begins to tell his wife about this extraordinary beauty, any well-schooled early twentieth century intellectual would know exactly which face he meant....more