Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001364, Thu, 24 Oct 1996 16:43:58 -0700

Paul West and Nabokov (fwd)
EDITOR'S NOTE. Paul West is indeed on the short list for writers that
might be mentioned in the same breath as VN. Jeff Edmunds
<jhe@psulias.psu.edu>, who sends the item below, is the editor of ZEMBLA
the Nabokv Web Site at
http: //www.libraries.psu.edu/iasweb/nabokov/nsintro.htm

>From an essay by Paul West, entitled "The End of an Elite," in _Tolstoy's
Dictaphone: Technology and the Muse_ (St. Paul: Graywolf Press, 1996), p.
47. (West, a prolific writer and superb prose stylist in his own right,
taught for many years at Penn State--a school which places infinitely more
emphasis on football than fiction.)

"Having a literary career (a phrase that merits quotation marks, depending
on one's mood) is to ride your writing sled through all vicissitudes. How
things tumble in at the door. All in one day, for instance, which happens to
be today, there arrive copies of the _Yale Review_ in which the rubric
'fiction' pairs me with Nabokov (the sensation is that of a sudden
chairlift), and an anthology of short fiction in which the editor prints a
story of his own, a long one, although he is a nonentity as a fiction
writer, and no sign in the pages of aforesaid Nabokov, or Beckett, or
Borges, or Gass, or Davenport or any other members of the small platoon I
keep in mind."