Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003387, Wed, 23 Sep 1998 12:08:30 -0700

Re: VN and literary criticism (fwd)

Re: Anatoly Vorobey's essay on writers as auto-critics
Anatoly Vorobey mellon@pobox.com http://pobox.com/~mellon/

This is a wonderful discussion, to which I'd only add the perhaps overly
obvious: Literary criticism matters much less than the novels they
critique -- even a bad novel, or better yet one of Orwell's "good bad"
books, is more memorable than any kind of incisive dissection. Maybe,
maybe not.

We don't remember the critic. We remember the novelist. Which to me
means not that criticism isn't valid, because it is, nor does it mean that
discussions _about_ criticism are not valid -- what it does mean, however,
is that it's absurd to take _any_ criticism like gospel, or to treat any
response to it like heresy.



"Baje del monte y me vine al mar..."
Joan Manuel Serrat

-- http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~jmm80625

On Wed, 23 Sep 1998, Donald Barton Johnson wrote:

> Galya Diment wrote:
> > So, do we just write it off as juvenalia -- or is there more
> > to it than that? In his later life, as we all know, VN was very proud of> his "Swallow" (also known as the "Swift") poem. I suspect that, like
> > Joyce, he did have different criteria for excessive "emoting" in poetry
> > and prose -- but that does not explain it all away either.
> --------------------------------