Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001190, Tue, 30 Jul 1996 19:48:14 -0700

VN Bibliography: Blot & Motte
EDITOR'S NOTE. Alexander Justice <jahvah@empirenet.com> supplies the
following brief description of a recent French book entitled NABOKOV by
Jean Blot. A detailed survey critique of the volume will appear in Jeff
Edmunds' survey of recent French VN criticism in NABOKOV STUDIES #3 (1996).
It is a glossy livre de poche with four-color and duotone illustrations,
many photographs familiar to Nabokovians, a few perhaps less so (stock
pictures of St. Petersburg, Berlin in the 20s). It comes as part of the
Ecrivains de Toujours series, Editions de Seuil, Paris, 1995. 223 pp.
Written by Jean Blot. There is a bibliography of works published in
French by and about Nabokov, and a shorter list of those not available in
French. The following quotation appears on the back cover under VVN's
photo (distinguished Montreux VVN with pince-nez): "Travailleurs de la
terre, dispersez-vous! Les vieux livres sont dans l'erreur! Le monde fut
cree un dimanche!"

To those more fluent in French I leave the task of critiquing the style
of M. Blot. I can only say that I find it neo-baroque, that is, given to
flights of digressive ornamentation that have more to do with the
biographer than his subject.

Alexander Justice * jahvah@empirenet.com * Paradiso Perdido, California,

"A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and
treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life."

Walter Motte, _PLAYTEXTS. Ludics in Contemporary Literature_. University
of Nebraska Press, 1996 (?). This (unfortunately titled) volume which
contains chapters on Breton, Gombrowicz, Nabokov, Sarrazin, Perec, Harry
Mathews, Calvino, Belletteo, Reyes, and Eco is reviewed in The (London)
Times Literary Supplement of 26 July 1996, p. 25 by Ian Pindar. The
playful reviewer, who finds Motte's work rather leaden, approvingly notes:
"Writing on Nabokov's PALE FIRE, Motte makes the important point that the
game is always unequal and that authority always resides with the creator
of the game'." Going on to mention _Finnegans Wake and Eco's work, Pindar
then remarks "Play ceases to be quite such a light-hearted affair under
such conditions, and the reader is cast into the tiresome role of literary
detective, constantly required to solve the riddle or crack the code."