Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015493, Mon, 24 Sep 2007 13:48:11 -0300

[Nabokov-List] [ NABOKOV SIGHTING]
While examining articles by Jorge Wanderley ( "Arquivo/Ensaio, Criação & Crítica 15, Edusp, 1994.) on Wallace Stevens' "Sunday Morning", I found an essay about Lolita ( no.6, "Nabokov e Lolita").

His approach seemed to be new, even now (imho), in relation to many essays I read about Lolita in the past years.Wanderley examines Lolita from inside his own critical evaluation of still another critic: N. Tamir-Ghez, "The Art of Persuasion in Nabokov's Lolita", Poetics Today, Tel-Aviv, vol.1, n. 1-2, Autumn, 1979).

In his 1994 essay he informs us that he had been surprised with the enthusiastic reception "emigré" VN had received in America. At the time when Nabokov published his works the experience with "imported" authors ( he follows A. Burgess here) was very new in America.

Wanderley questioned if Tamir-Ghez ( following a Sartrian tradition that found ethical problems underlying every esthetic productions) had behaved like a "moralist critic". His answer was "No.He is an analyst of ficcional devices that succeeds in his task, in the same measure that Nabokov succeeds in his." He had noted before that VN, too, was not a moralist: although VN expressed ( via Humbert Humbert) a strong plea for HH's absolution, he allowed small facts, short sentences by Lolita,usw to philter through his narrative and provide sufficient elements to demonstrate that the life of a young girl was being destroyed while her adolescent spontaneity and liberty suffered under coercion & sexual crimes.

JW quotes T-G " Nabokov does intend us to identify with the protagonist to a certain degree, to accept him as a human being, while at the same time strongly to condemn his deeds", to add that these words would equally fit into "Macbeth", a Raskolnikoff or a Mailer-narrator ( The American Dream) drama, serving to indicate the tragic dimension ( including the importance of catharsis) and its contradicting feelings and choices.

JW studies the processes underlying the creation of fiction ( departing from James and Booth) to identify these in VN's own procedures qua "unreliable authors" and "contracts bt. author and reader in fiction". He gave special importance to the interpretations made by the reader over authorial intentions:"Nabokov, a small mise-en-scène director who watches from the stage-wings while he divinizes his control over his own creatures, at the same time that he manages to overcome the obstacles he imposed on himself." for, to Wanderly, the actual "workers" were, at all times, the readers.

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