NABOKV-L post 0011779, Tue, 6 Sep 2005 09:40:52 -0700

Fwd: Re: Rorty and Pale Fire
----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald B. Johnson" <>
To: "Jansy Berndt de Souza Mello" <>
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 11:30 PM
Subject: Re: Rorty and Pale Fire

Quoting Jansy Berndt de Souza Mello <>:

In the Everyman´s library edition of Pale Fire there is an Introduction by
Richard Rorty and it starts with apt comments concerning judicious
I copied its initial paragraph which I had been perusing when Ada´s
translation first review reached me.

R.Rorty ( Introduction to Pale Fire ) :
"The imagination, Wallace Stevens said, is the mind pressing back
against reality. But it is in the interest of reality - that is to say,
of the imagination of the dead - to insist that no further
pressure is needed: that the imagination of the living can do nothing save
reiterate lessons previously learned, instatiate previously
known truths. Judicious reviewers must presuppose that nothing genuinely
new can be written, for only on that assumption are they in
a position to judge, and in no danger of being judged by, the book they are
reviewing. Like the judicious reviewer, the common reader
is made nervous by books that are insufficiently like the books he or she
has read in the past.
Vladimir Nabokov ( 1899-1977) wrote books which were not much like anybody
else´s, and they rarely got good reviews. Most reviewers
echoed Dr. Johnson´s dictum that nothing odd can last, and proceeded to
diagnose Nabokov´s oddities as signs of his egotistical disdain for
reality, a disdain which cloaked his inability to imitate reality
convincingly. Simon Raven, reviewing Pale Fire on its publication in

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