From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] On Behalf Of Donald B. Johnson
Sent: Friday, April 15, 2005 6:29 PM
Subject: Fwd: Re: Mick Glynn: Dissertation-A novelist of Delusion: Vladimir Nabokov's Bergsonian and Russian Formalist Affinities
> From: "MIck Glynn" <MGLYNN@pcfe.ac.uk>
> I shall preface my
> discussion of Nabokov's Bergsonian and Shklovskyite affinities by
> countering the idea, now something of a critical orthodoxy, that
> Nabokov was in effect
> a Symbolist writer concerned with a transcendent, extra-mundane reality.
I'm not entirely happy to learn that part of what I argued in my recent postings was "now something of a critical orthodoxy". I guess that's the advantage of reading a list where experts share their knowledge. However, to defer to Nabokov's statements about schools and to gloss over my lack of knowledge, I would take out the words "in effect a Symbolist writer".
> Both Bergson and Shklovsky held that art acts to
> deautomatise perception. The artist performs a special function in
> that he or she may effect an epistemological reawakening, may counter
> the mind's tendency towards delusion.
> In Lolita, Pale
> Fire and Despair, we are presented with deluded minds. In these
> narratives, individual artist figures actively distort reality. In
> Bend Sinister, Invitation to a Beheading and King Queen Knave we are
> presented with deluded
> worlds. In each of these novels, an undeluded artist figure is situated
> a deluded realm, in a world peopled by automata.
Do you think _Pale Fire_ also contains a largely undeluded artist figure, namely Shade? One thing he's undeluded about is that there is "a more veridical world", as you put it, than the one he perceives. I believe the purpose of his art is precisely to awaken his readers to it and that his method does not devalue "that golden paste" to which he is as attached as Nabokov.
(My earlier postings were <http://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0503&L=nabokv-l&P=R38760>
and quoted at <http://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0503&L=nabokv-l&P=R48525>
--I can't find the original.)