Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000409, Sat, 17 Dec 1994 14:00:04 -0800

Re: Books that build character (fwd)
EDITOR'S NOTE: The message just below is from novelist David Slavitt who
interviewed VN after the U.S. appearance of LOLITA. (His account of the
interview appeared earlier on NABOKV-L.) His comment on Jeff Edmunds'
"Books that build character" (see the second following text) offers a
piquant aside on Simon & Shuster's publishing history. DBJ
It's particularly nice that this is from S&S. I have a fairly clear
recollection that VN told me that S&S was, at one point, willing to
consider publishing Lolita if only he'd change the sex of the nymphet and
make it a young boy in whom HH was interested. I always assumed that a)
this was a joke, but b) there was a point to it somehow. I am quite clear
about VN's attribution of this betise to S&S, though.
Cheers, David
Subject: "Books that build Character"--from Jeff Edmunds:

>I thought this might be of interest, especially the double-think of the
>last phrase.
>>From _Books that Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral
>Values Through Stories_ (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994) p. 37. The
>authors are William Kilpatrick (author of _Why Johnny Can't Tell Right from
>Wrong_ and Gregory & Suzanne Wolfe.
> "Even Vladimir Nabokov, who is often cited as a foe of moralism,
>admits the point. 'I never meant to deny the moral impact of art which is
>certainly present in every genuine work of art,' wrote Nabokov, and he
>often defended his controversial _Lolita_ on moral grounds, saying it had
>'high moral content.'
> For obvious reasons we've left _Lolita_ off our list [...]"
>Jeff Edmunds
David R. Slavitt
TEL:(215) 382-3994