Vladimir Nabokov


Nabokov in conversation with Pierre Berton and Lionel Trilling about Lolita. (Part 2 of the interview after the jump.)

Today is Vladimir Nabokov‘s birthday (1899-1977).

From The Modern Century:

In Vladimir Nabokov’s novel, Pale Fire, a gentle, wistful, rather touching pastoral poem falls into the hands of a lunatic who proceeds to “annotate” it with a wild paranoid fantasy about his own adventures as a prince in some European state during a revolution. Poem and commentary have nothing to do with each other, and perhaps that is the only point the book makes. But the title, taken from Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens [4.3.438], suggests a certain allegory of the relation of art to the wish-fulfillment fantasies that keep bucking and plunging underneath it. Such forces are in all of us, and are strong enough to destroy the world if they are not controlled through release instead of repression. In my last lecture I want to talk about the way in which the creative arts are absorbed into society through education. Meanwhile we may notice that the real basis for the opposition of artist and society is the fact that not merely communications media and public relations, but the whole structure of society itself, is an anti-art, and old and worn-out creation that needs to be created anew. (CW 10, 48)


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