Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002550, Thu, 13 Nov 1997 15:06:02 -0800

(Fwd) A.S. Byatt and VN (fwd)
EDITOR's NOTE. Brian Boyd <b.boyd@auckland.ac.nz> has kindly forwarded
the item below to NABOKV-L.
From the ALSC list (Byatt spoke at the Association of Literary
Scholars and Critics conference; Robert Alter's superb presidential
address mentioned Nabokov but focussed on Genesis, Stendhal and

Byatt is very enthusiastic about Nabokov in a 1989 TV documentary,
The Making of Lolita (on Britain's Channel Four).

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------Date: Thu,
13 Nov 1997 13:33:06 -0800 From: Jack Kolb <KOLB@ucla.edu>
Subject: A.S. Byatt and more To: alsc-
net@SkyList.Net Reply-to: "ALSC-Net Discussion List" <alsc-

Though I couldn't attend the ALSC convention (San Francisco's a great city,
but fearsomely expensive, as several friends have reminded me), I can't
express the joy that I felt in my encounter (Tuesday evening) with
Ms. Byatt. She embodies all the best aspects of art I value. At this
L.A. gathering, she read from the Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye, and then
talked, freely, about herself and her writing. It was of course utterly
genuine: here is an great artist who can talk about herself
unpretentiously, with humor, and with the seriousness that art deserves.

And though I have often condemned THIS city, I was proud: every question
from the L.A. audience was worthy, and elicited superb responses.

What impressed me secondarily was the utter conservatism Byatt expressed.
Not political, but literary conservatism. Everything she said was totally
sane, and meaningful; embracing Nabokov, for example; and questioning
Fowles. She eloquently praised a number of contemporary British novelists,
enough to make me (very skeptical of fiction) to want read them.

Here is where art exists, and progresses. An especial condemnation of the
excesses of contemporary theory.

From: Brian Boyd
English Department
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019 Auckland New Zealand
Fax (64 9) 373 7429 Tel (64 9) 373 7599 ext 7480
Home fax: (64 9) 620 6520 Home tel: (64 9) 620 6597
e-mail: b.boyd@auckland.ac.nz