Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001169, Mon, 1 Jul 1996 16:53:45 -0700

Re: Unreliable Narrators - Reply (fwd)
From: joseph piercy <j9250308@wlv.ac.uk>

Scott Michael Craig is right to point to Celine as a good example of the
unreliable narrator technique. His remarks concerning the "excellent"
but sadly "late", Ralph Manheim, reminded me of another text he
beautifully rendered into English translation. Namely Gunter Grass's "The
Tin Drum". The highly demented dwarf Oskar has the same strangely
rational capacity for self delusion as Humbert, but is (as Nabokov
remarked) a monster who "somehow manages to appear touching". The novel
begins with the wilfully ironic line "Granted : I am the inmate of a
mental instituition" - almost daring the reader not to believe a word of
it. Incidentally, Celine's suspect political activities always blocked
his copy book for me ( in a similiar way to Eliot and Paul De Man ) which
is a shame, because the writing is, as you say, "masterful"

Joseph Piercy University Of Wolverhampton United Kingdom