NABOKV-L post 0000449, Mon, 30 Jan 1995 09:03:36 -0800

Re: Nabokov and Women (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 1995 11:11:52 EST
From: EJUSERS <>
Subject: Re: Nabokov and Women (fwd)


When exactly is Nabokov supposedly being misogynistic? When women
are victims (Lolita) or when women are as demonic as men (Ada)? Or
both? If you go through the novels you find as great a variety of
women and attitudes toward them as you do men, as long as you first
accept that, as with most male authors, the main character of the
novel is going to be masculine (and with most female authors, the
main character is going to be feminine).

It seems to me that if all the novels were averaged together, things
would average out about like they do in *Laughter in the Dark*, where
there are two victims (Mr. & Mrs. Albinus) and two demons (Axel Rex
and Margot Peters). And then there are novels like *The Gift* where
this whole question does not apply.

You do have to occasionally remember to filter a character through
the right perspective: for instance, in *Pale Fire* you certainly
need to see Sybil through John Shade's perspective rather than
through Kinbote's. So I say that misogynism is no dirtly little
secret in Nabokov, just a variant misreading of *Lolita* with a
refusal to take the whole corpus into account.

--Charles Nicol