Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003374, Sat, 19 Sep 1998 11:12:40 -0700

Re: VN & Sentiment (fwd)
------------------ I can't say I find the punch bowl incident unduly
sentimental. There's little in Nabokov's work that suggests inadvertence .
He must make us respond strongly to Pnin's vulnerability, else the forces
that converge upon him lose much of their sinister force: a aging scholar,
survivor of an unsatisfactory marriage (among much else), loses his job
(or rather has it offered to him on terms that are unacceptable), and is
obliged to leave his rented house. His future? Unknown. Certainly a banal
précis, but still were it not for Pnin's aptitude for martyrdom, so to
speak, the mere facts of his adventures would make little impression. The
bunch bowl is, for this reader, the artistic focus of that long and
eventful evening. That the worst does not occur prepares us for the richly
ambiguous ending of the novel, one from which the formerly all-seeing
narrator is in a sense excluded. (Pace Eco.)


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