Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001376, Sat, 26 Oct 1996 16:33:08 -0700

the Master and Materialism (fwd)
I have an admittedly naive question, but one I hope someone will actually
take the time to answer. Do we suppose that the dearth of
ideological/materialist criticism of Nabokov's work is due to VN's own
expressed antipathy? But he wouldn't be the first author to have something
done to his work of which he would not approve. So then is it simply
because the majority of VN critics are not interested (and/or potentially
hostile)? If so, what happens to the new kid who decides the time has come?
(Provided the argument is done well, etc. -- no method is its own
justification.) Just a question -- feel free to talk amongst yourselves.
While I'm at it, is the best way to defend *Lolita* from being held
responsible for the "breakdown" of Western Civ to teach it more often to
more people in more places? Do some teachers stay away from the book for
undergrads because of its complexity? And does that complexity prevent more
people from actually realizing the novel is not pornographic? Is it too
late? I've just read the article in US News & World Report, and feel like
I'm watching a brilliant book get sucked into oblivion by the mass
advertising machine. An overreaction?

Dustin C. Pascoe
University of Kentucky


From dcpasc0@service1.uky.eduSat Oct 26 16:26:57 1996
Date: Fri, 25 Oct 1996 09:13:52 -0400
From: Dustin Pascoe <dcpasc0@service1.uky.edu>

Okay, as far as a clarification goes, I'll be happy to do my best.
In short, I mean a sort of Jamesonian Marxism, an examination of how
Nabokov's works are complicitous with or seek to undermine the dominant
mystifications of his time (they're complicitous, by the way, but maybe not
the way he wanted), and how his novels are useful in exploring the greater
relationship of our social formations. Let me also add, before anyone has
the chance to wonder, that I _do_like_ Nabokov -- the ideology is just
something to be studied, like fatidic numbers, that's all.

Dustin C. Pascoe