Marie C. Bouchet (University of Toulouse) sheds light on how Nabokov subverts the Ut Pictura Poesis tradition through his intermedial use of non-canonical pictorial references in the paper titled “Popular Culture as an Intermedial Source: Nabokov’s Subversive Use of the Ut Pictura Poesis Topos in Lolita, Novel and Screenplay.” These pictorial references are taken from popular culture and include commercial ads, amateur snapshots, or magazine pictures. The focus is on Lolita, for it is a highly intermedial work--a novel in which popular culture plays a major role at the level of plot, characterization, structure, motifs, and poetics. This paper also focalizes upon the Lolita screenplays—the various unpublished drafts as well as the 1974 published version—in order to analyze Nabokov’s attempt to transfer the intermedial features of his novel into a filmic system of signs. In this paper Bochet contends that Nabokov’s ekphrases of popular culture items not only belong to his more typical intermedial strategies, but mostly serve parodic, structural, and self-reflexive purposes. Quite systematically, in these instances of playful intermedial work on popular culture items, Nabokov interweaves high- and low-brow references that require just as much readerly participation and response as his more traditional ekphrases or allusions to Art.
Popular Culture as an Intermedial Source: Nabokov’s subversive use of the Ut Pictura Poesis Topos in Lolita, Novel and Screenplay
Periodical or collection
Nabokov Online Journal