NABOKV-L post 0020748, Tue, 21 Sep 2010 09:58:33 -0700

Re: SIGHTING: Playboy, Flaubert, Nabokov

From The Times Literary Supplement

September 10, 2010

Perfect form
Amusement has greeted the news that an extract from Lydia Davis's new
translation of Madame Bovary appears in the September issue of Playboy. "Who's
in between the covers of Playboy now?", tittered the Guardian. "Madame Bovary."
The Independent called her "Playboy's literary Playmate of the Month". Macy
Halford at the New Yorker's books blog at least tried to be witty: "I am not
very interested in Playboy, but I am interested in the female form. That is, in
one female - Lydia Davis - operating in top form in her new translation of
Madame Bovary". Even Ms Halford resorted to the obligatory tale of embarrassment
when buying the magazine at a kiosk.

These people ought to be grateful that Playboy is getting bookish again. Last
year, it published sections of The Original of Laura, the latest Nabokov
discovery. Nabokov was a Playboy interviewee in the 1960s, as was Jean-Paul
Sartre. If the magazine pays less attention to literature now, it is because the
culture in general does. Touchingly, it bills Flaubert's story as "The most
scandalous novel of all time", which wasn't true even in 1857, when the author
was prosecuted for outraging public morals. If Lydia Davis had offered a
top-form translation of The 120 Days of Sodom (1795), Playboy would have been


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