NABOKV-L post 0026419, Tue, 8 Sep 2015 11:38:30 +0100

Re: Was Nabokov a Hebephile\Ephebophile?
Addendum on Nabokov as liar.
For years I kept a ragged newspaper cutting, I think from The Observer (London). It was by Stephen Vizinczey and had the title "Nabokov's Big Lie". I kept it because I wanted to hang on to my perception that Nabokov, whom, in many ways, I admired, was, nevertheless, lying. I had felt this with some conviction since Pale Fire appeared: Nabokov so obviously did not identify with Kinbote's homosexual pederasty in the way he did with Humbert's heterosexual child abuse. Vizinczey was the only support I had for my uneasy observation (I am excluding, of course, the scribbling of those who needed no evidence). I have mislaid his piece, but I see that he published it, presumably the same year, in Truth and Lies in Literature (1986). It must have been a review of The Enchanter, also published that year. I do not recall any other reference in this list to Vizinczey's review, or thesis. Are not other readers of Nabokov troubled by what seems me his lack of integrity in this respect? Perhaps I should clarify, on reflection, that Vizinczey was criticising, and I agree, not just Nabokov's apparent dishonesty in interviews but, more fundamentally, dishonesty in his actual work. Goodness knows, Brian Boyd and (if I may mention my minuscule effort) I have tried to demonstrate the moral nature of Nabokov's novels, his inviting the reader to see through the seductions of the narrators. But, with regret, I find myself forced to ask, with Vizinczey, whether behind the seductions of the narrators there is an attempt at seduction of the reader by the author himself, in a way incompatible with the highest standards of literature.
Anthony Stadlen

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> On 7 Sep 2015, at 21:05, Nabokv-L <nabokv-l@UTK.EDU> wrote:
> EDNote: for the record (see Mo Ibrahim's original post), Tatyana from Eugene Onegin was not 13, but at least 18 at the time of her first acquaintance with Eugene. It's also worth noting that in "A Nursery Tale" the term "devochka" (little girl) occurs only in relation to the 14-year-old; one other victim is called "devushka" (post-adolescent girl/young woman); and the rest apparently are referred to as "zhenschina" (woman) or "dama" (lady). -SB
> Re: [NABOKV-L] Was Nabokov a Hebephile\Ephebophile?.eml
> Subject:
> Re: [NABOKV-L] Was Nabokov a Hebephile\Ephebophile?
> From:
> Stadlen <>
> Date:
> 9/7/2015 12:25 PM
> To:
> Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> What I have always found disturbing about this is that Nabokov lied about it, saying that he had to imagine someone utterly different from himself. I do not mean that he acted upon his fantasies or desires - I simply don't know - but he seems to have falsely stated that these were not even his own desires, or even fantasies, except insofar as he fantasised them as desires or fantasies of other men, his fantasised narrators. Such dishonesty, if this is what it was, is difficult to respect, as it disrespects his readers. He could have refused interviews, like Beckett. His high moral tone, rebuking Tynan for inviting a piece that would have "titillated" Nabokov himself, seems, in the light of this, a sham: righteousness as filthy rags.
> Anthony Stadlen
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