Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002567, Tue, 18 Nov 1997 18:53:43 -0800

AAASS VN papers & abstracts (fwd)
The AAASS National Conference wil be held in Seattle November 20-23 at the
Sheraton Seattle. The Nabokov Society Panel is at 5:30-7:30 on Thursday,
Nov. 20, 1997. Several abstracts follow the listing of the talks.
Chair: D. Barton Johnson, UC, Santa Barbara <chtodel@humanitas.ucsb.edu>

Papers: Galya Diment, U. Washington <galya@u.washington.edu>
"_Lolita_ versus 'Lolita': Dorthoty Parker's 1955 Story &
Nabokov's Novel"

Eric Naiman, UC, Berkeley <naiman@socrates.berkeley.edu>
"Frenching the Text: A Filty Look at Shakespeare' _Lolita_"

Tom Seifrid, USC <SEIFRID@hermes.usc.edu>

"The Death of the Addressee: Some Forms of Noncommunication in
Nabokov's Works"

Also not to be missed: Maxim D. Shrayer, Boston College
"Erasing and 'Dragonizing": On Working with Drafts
of Nabokov's Stories"

It is the third paper at Session 9-20 "Problematics of Using Writer's
Drafts & Notesbooks" at 8-10 S at. AM, Nov. 22, 1997.

Abstract: Diment
""_Lolita_ vs. 'Lolita': Dorthothy Parker's 1955 Story & Nabokov's Novel"

As the stories about the Russian Professor Timofey Pnin were
appearing in The New Yorker in the early 1950s, Nabokov was
also at work on his other, and, to him, much more demanding
yet precious novel -- Lolita. Soon after the publication of the first
Pnin story, he sent Katharine White, the magazine's literary editor,
the manuscript of Lolita to see if The New Yorker would be willing
to serialize that novel as well. He intended the manuscript for her
eyes only and beseeched her to make "quite sure that there would
be no leaks" (SL, 142). Around the same time he promised to Edmund
Wilson that he would show him "in an atmosphere of great secrecy...
an amazing book" (NWL, 282).

"Lolita" did appear in The New Yorker two years later but it was
not written by Nabokov. It was the title of a short story -- and a name
of a female protagonist -- created by Dorothy Parker. In it, a widowed
and flirtatious mother is unpleasantly surprised when a dashing
newcomer to their town who drives "a low, narrow car with a
foreign name" bestows his attentions not on her, but on her
plain-looking daughter Lolita, otherwise described in the
story as "that pale gawk." Coincidence? Trying to answer that is
what my paper is really about.

Abstract: Seifrid
"The Death of the Addressee: Some Forms of Noncommunication in Nabokov's

Nabokov displays what might be called a disinclination to
"inhabit" his own works -- in the sense of being willing fully to identify
himself with the given genre and narrative voice. Instead, he often
presents us with an unreliable narrative mask, set within an ironically
adopted "low" genre (thriller, pornographic confession, etc). Often,
moreover, it involves the ironic imitation of other writers or literary
movements -- but only rarely or marginally something we could identify as
his "own" fully-embraced poetic or "truth." In general, this poetics of
indirection or negation recalls the device of anamorphic projection
mentioned in _Invitation to a Beheading_. One way to comprehend this issue
is simply to call Nabokokv an ironist, which is certainly accurate. But it
seems to me that Nabokv's penchant for formal or rhetorical indirection
was part of a larger phenomenon in his work.

Abstract: Naiman
Frenching the Text: A Filthy Look at Shakespeare's Lolita

This talk analyzes the role of Shakespearean bawdy and of scholarship
thereof in Lolita (and, to a slight degree, in Ada). It suggests that as
part of his love affair with the English language, Nabokov has constructed
Lolita as a thesaurus of Shakespearean bawdy language. A (new?) prototype
is suggested for Quilty. To a significant extent, this paper seeks to
rehabilitate W.W. Rowe's close reading by exploring what might have
happened had he shared Nabokov's command of Shakespeare and French. The
paper seeks to demonstrate that to be sufficient a reading of Lolita must
also be perverse; those who read without a filthy mind are unable to
appreciate a significant dimension of Nabokov's work.