Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0005533, Sat, 14 Oct 2000 20:01:47 -0700

Fw: Biographie romancée
----- Original Message -----
From: <Cyannicke@aol.com>

More than once in his novels Nabokov uses the French expression "Biographie
Romancée" . For example in The Gift ("You know those idiotic 'biographies
romancées' where Byron is cooly slipped a dream extracted from one of his
poems ? " ) or Sebastian Knight ( But if I should try with Sebastian the
result would be one of those 'biographies romancées' which are by far the
worst kind of literature yet invented.")
What is Nabokov's intention in using the French expression? Does it refer
the cultural French tradition which is indeed keen on this genre ? Or is
French idiom more speaking than the English actual equivalent?

Y. Chupin

EDITOR's NOTE. I vaguely recall thatVN also used the expression with
specific reference to Maurois' Byron bio. Perhaps in his letters to Wilson?