NABOKV-L post 0025109, Sun, 23 Feb 2014 20:05:51 -0500

SIGHTING: from NYT letters
This was forwarded by S.P. Klein:

Letters: ‘Inside a Pearl,’ and More

What Would Nabokov Do?

To the Editor:

I am responding to the discussion of the e-book reading experience in
the Bookends column (Jan. 5), and the subsequent letters page (Jan. 26).
I was a student of Vladimir Nabokov’s in his last year of teaching
literature to Cornell undergraduates, when the American publication of
“Lolita” allowed him to leave us to lesser lecturers and devote himself
to his butterflies and books. As he wrote, sorting sentences and dealing
with their details, Nabokov arranged them flexibly over index cards. How
he would have loved and applauded word processors.

He always read with a dictionary at hand, and advised us all to do so.
He would have embraced an e-reader that would allow a word to reveal its
meaning at the touch of a finger.

Surely, the “sight, smell and touch” of paper is not central to the flow
of ideas and images from book to brain. From his grave, V.N. must be
shouting: “Up with e-readers and word processors. Down with biases based
only upon previously programmed behavior.” What, he might have asked,
would those who denigrate electronic devices have said when the world
went from stone tablets to scrolls?


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