Tuesday, May 19, 2009

oh dear!

My first graduate class is titled "Literary Pedagogy" -- teaching Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita...

I'm touched mostly by Nabokov's own words in this interview: "sob in the spine of the artist reader"..."negligible generalities"...and "i don't wish to touch hearts"...

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It's so obvious that interviews...onlookers who we like to appreciate our literature...to talk about our work...that we find pride in the examination and on-trial nature of our work...make us the most uncomfortable...because the work, mostly the artist, is put in the light...

I've read Lolita only once before...as a younger woman.

How lucky am I to be required to study it now....to read it again...

6 comments:

mouse (aka kimy) said...

I'm ashamed to say I've never read lolita...but before I read the original, I think I'd like to first read 'reading lolita in tehran' ..... seems backward, but, hey.....

thanks for the wonderful comment on the post yesterday.... it had both me and feagin all welled up....after I read it, I had him read it and hey same affect!

hugs...

Wildeve said...

I tried to read Lolita when I was 16- my mother snatched it away from me in horror! I have never gotten back to it. I still feel guilty somehow.
wildeve

Azulita said...

I read 'Reading in Lolita in Tehran' and have been meaning to read the original ever since. I guess I should go ahead and get to it. When you have interesting insights to share with us about it I want to know what you are talking about.

j. said...

pale fire by nabokov is incredible. i liked it much better than lolita-it wasn't that i didn't like lolita, i really did, it was just a different, more pleasant experience to read pale fire.
anyways,
i hope you like reading it again.

rosedale's 4 head said...

@kimy, Wildeve, and Azulita: Lolita is a genius novel, as far away from pornographic material as possible, not even remotely close, the language is stunningly beautiful...honest and captivating...

would i have let my 14 year old daughter read it...probably...i did allow her to read Alice in Wonderland...(even quoted some of her thoughts/opinions as part of an undergrad research essay)...but, too, i'm always artist-writer biased, defensive, protective and was highly confident in my motherhood skills...i did start off quite young though.... ;)

there's much to say about Reading Lolita in Tehran...i hope to post a little about it...

@j: I feel the same way about Toni Morrison's big splash Beloved. Innovative work, but my heart belongs to Sula....a smaller less talked about piece (in comparison)...

robp said...

I love this clip. At the end Nabokov actually talks about his work. Prior to that he just seems happy to be the artist acting superior to his audience. Which, if it were possible to do so, the interviewers retrospectively might have been able to tie into his pretentious "I'm a genius and none can understand me" writing.

Nabokov is, of course, brilliant. What he doesn't seem to realize is that he's sometimes pretentious, and not all of his intelligent readers are willing to put up with his bullshit.

The knock is on the man, not the writing. I loved "Lolita." unfortunately, there are times in his writing when he thinks he's smarter than he actually is.