Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003347, Fri, 4 Sep 1998 08:24:44 -0700

Re: NYBR Bookend, Aug 23, 98 (fwd)
Has anyone noted that Edmund Morris's article on the Modern Library top 100 of
the 20th century reveals that in the initial polling "Lolita" was Number One?

Clearly, the academic contingent swayed the poll toward the great academic hit
of the 20th century and away from our magnificent nymphet.

Morris also praises herein "Appel's fascinatingly detailed annotated edition,"
and says, that on his eighth reading he "was, as usual, in a state of deep
despair over the impossibility of ever writing a sentence that could compare
with any of the flashing, floating lines that Nabokov released with such
lepidopteral prodigality: at the bottom of the hill, in the summer dusk, a
furry warmth, golden midges." Actually, not bad. And "Notwithstanding my love
for Dolores Haze, I had to agree, as 'Ulysses' began to rise like a great
whale [!] to the top of our subsequent polls, that no other novel of the
century bulks as large, or gives off such wild underwater music."

And finally, of Joyce's "A Portrait...: "... really an autobiography, for all
its poignancy no more a novel than Nabokov's far superior 'Speak, Memory.'"

Quite a nice piece, actually, and VN looms large. ("The Color Purple," by the
way, is revealed to have been, at no. 404, "last but not least.")

Christopher Berg