NABOKV-L post 0026448, Mon, 14 Sep 2015 15:22:04 -0700

Re: Was Nabokov a Hebephile\Ephebophile?
From Eric: Let me end by splitting the quotation from Vargas-Llosa, before and after the semi-colon. Writing is indeed “rooted in the lives who write them”; but experience is not necessarily “the source from which all fiction flows.”

Me: this was exactly my point, the sources of art are personal but the form they take is processed through the possibilities of the medium and the particular logic of any particular work. Saying that Nabokov was possibly pedophiliac in terms of his inner life if not his lived one is impossible ever to know for sure without extratextural proof. In Eric's case about the rapes in Chaucer he at least had some scrap suggesting that Chaucer had maybe been involved in one. As far as I know there's never even been gossip along these lines with Nabokov. Therefore equating a writer's literary and poetic fantasies with his or her inner erotic life as many naive readers do is particularly dangerous with Nabokov because he was a prankster and a provocateur who loved playing with the reader's notions and expectations--Look at The Harlequins! is practically a class in this kind of exercise. The pedophilia is very important to Lolita as incest is important to Ada, but
applying this to Nabokov's personal emotional whatevers is completely idle. While we're at it, why not suggest he desired his younger sister, since he has such fun with that theme in Ada and since his claim that his only interest in the subject was the "bl" sound in siblings was obviously a hysterical denial.

By the way, Nabokov himself was occasionally prone to this way of reading himself. In his wonderful lectures about literature, when discussing Proust, even as he warned against seeing in the Search anything other than a great fairy tale, he still allowed himself to psycho-analyze the author's way of using art-work comparisons in describing people--according to N. he uses it as a way to cover up a lack of lust for ladies, then turns around and uses the same method as a means to hide his interest in men, something N. only pretended he could have figured out without biographical testimony as to Proust's proclivities. Not to mention the tales out of school N. told in various places concerning Proust's supposed penchant for watching rats or mice killed, I believe, which probably wasn't true in the first place and, in the second, doesn't explain the creepy S&M freakiness of the Baron De Charlus, which is all that should concern the good reader.

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