NABOKV-L post 0018652, Fri, 9 Oct 2009 23:12:57 -0400

Subject
Ada and Lucette
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Date
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I must say I hadn't thought of ADA in the terms Joseph Aisenberg
mentions (in his previous post) about the stereotyped bad girl (with
Gothic pallor) / good girl (with healthy glow) structure of romantic and
melodramatic fiction. But it seems entirely plausible, given Nabokov's
parody of the mode and history of the novel in ADA, and his parody of
novelistic cliches elsewhere (in RLSK especially, perhaps) and his
strong sense that great authors need to be great critics of the creative
opportunities and cliched obstacles within the form they choose.

I might also add that I have asked my students in a Literature and
Science course I teach to describe the process of their reading and
rereading one of the works on the course (which includes Pale Fire) in
terms of hypothesis formation and correction. It is fascinating to see
how diverse readers’ expectations of plot developments are at different
stages of the reading process, how their expectations seem to remain
idiosyncratic to individual readers and don’t correspond at all to my
recollections of a first reading, now dimmed by the palimpsest of
subsequent responses.

Brian Boyd

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