Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004531, Mon, 1 Nov 1999 08:31:29 -0800

Nabokov and Foucalt Philosphy (fwd)
EDITOR's NOTE. Maurice Couturier is the leading French Nabokov specialist
and editor-in-chief of the excellent Pleiade edition of VN's works. The
first volume (pp700+) if the three volume set has just appeared. The notes
and other editorial apparatus make it an essential for all research
libraries with serious Nabokov holdings.

In response to the recent mail concerning Nabokov and Foucault, may I take
the liberty to mention that, in my French publications, I have repeatedly
made reference to Foucault's works (on madness and sexuality), especially
in Roman et censure ou la mauvaise foi d'Eros (Seyssel: Champ Vallon,

Foucault's philosophy is useful to understand Nabokov's brand of
"subversion", but he frequently behaved as a militant as well.

At a conference on Literature and Philosophy organized in Giessen by
Herbert Grabes a few years ago, I made ample use of Foucault in my
approach to the theory of the author; at the end of my paper, Ihab Hazan,
a good friend, argued that one shouldn't pay so much attention to Foucault
considering that he probably contaminated many of his friends with AIDS. I
strongly objected, of course, and to prove my point I mentioned Céline, a
good writer, though a dreadful fascist (retrospectively, I am not sure
this was a good argument).

I am glad you received the Pleéiade. It is very well reviewed in the press
and the radio. Next Friday, there will be two full pages about Nabokov in
Le Monde. A journalist from that paper came to interview me in
preparation for it.

I am already working on the second volume and actively doing a new
translation of Lolita.

Did I mention that in September I edited a special Nabokov "dossier" in
the NRF. It contains three texts originally published by Nabokov in his
three languages:
- my translation of "Chapter 16" of Speak, Memory,
- Laure Troubetzkoy's translation of "Easter Rain"
- a reprint of "Pouchkine ou le vrai et le vraisemblable".