Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003116, Tue, 19 May 1998 13:52:44 -0700

Re: Query: Bronte's influence (fwd)
I tend to agree --even though I do not have the first edition of _Pale
Fire_ to throw into the betting pool. VN did make an exception for Austen,
but ever so begrudgingly (even after he discovered he liked her, he
couldn't resist comparing her work to the traditionally-female
preoccupation of "needlepoint") and only after Wilson beseeched him again
and again to read her and include her in the Cornell course. I don't think
the Brontes ever had a chance. In that, VN was not all that different from
most of the 19th-century readers in fear of whose prejudices the Brontes
assumed male pen names at the start.

Galya Diment

> From: Holtie <mmorris@netunlimited.net>
> On the Bronte influence question---perhaps we all need to take the cold
> bath of reality (or "reality") here. Knowing what we know about Nabokov's
> opinion of women writers--to say nothing of the Bronte's as "text" over
> "texture" writers (where are the Dickensian/Gogolian stylistics in
> _Wuthering Heights_, to say nothing of the--in my humble opinion--vastly
> inferior _Jane Eyre_?), I would be willing to bet my first edition of _Pale
> Fire_ that Nabokov found the Brontes as cold and dull as a foggy night in
> a Gothic novel, and completely useless as referential source material.
> This is not to say that Nabokov, in his vigorous aesthetic principles, did
> not deny himself the pleasures of Emily's genius--I think he probably did,
> just as he missed out on the fun of Stendhal's novels, and _The Sound And
> The Fury_....but that's another question, another discusssion...