Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0022108, Thu, 20 Oct 2011 10:14:22 -0400

Nabokov sighting
Stanley Wells, rev. of Arthur Phillips, The Tragedy of Arthur. The New York Review of Books 58.16 27 October 2011. 63-66:

"[. . . ] Arthur Phillips's wonderfully intricate, Nabokovian novel The Tragedy of Arthur composed in the form of an edition [. . .] of a previously unknown Shakespeare play [. . . ]" (63). The Tragedy of Arthur is an invented text surrounded by academic, or faux-academic, commentary. (I have obtained The Tragedy of Arthur but have not yet had the time to read it.)

Wells's "Nabokovian" primarily alludes to Pale Fire, of course, but I think The Tragedy of Arthur also harkens back to Bend Sinister, IMO Nabokov's most underappreciated work. Bend Sinister's Chapter 7, in the guise of anti-Stalinist satire, contains a delightful parody of Hamlet, which, BTW, antedates Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. And whenever academic parody arises, perhaps there is a distant connection to Pnin.

Eric Hyman
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