NABOKV-L post 0026431, Thu, 10 Sep 2015 22:16:17 +0000

Re: Was Nabokov a Hebephile\Ephebophile?
"it's only an hypothesis that he was lying [about being a pedophile]. But isn't it fairly clear by now that when Nabokov imagines a character molesting a minor female he is somehow "interested"...
Isn't this a little over the top? Clearly Nabokov was interested in "freakish" behavior. No one writes such an incendiary book as Lolita in such loving lurid detail without being interested in its subject matter. Nabokov's denials were obviously an attempt to get out ahead of any line of questioning that would eventually lead to readers concluding: Humbert, he's Nabokov. From Andrew Field to Brian Boyd to Stacy Schiff--people who have well investigated N.'s background--there's never been a whiff of the author's playing foul with children, as opposed to his being something of a womanizer; flirting with the occasional college age girl in his and the world's late forties. The underage girls in the work are clearly poetic eidolons--dreams and ideals--who fired his artistic imagination, but as far as is known, not representations of his literal sex life. After all, do we think that Camus felt nothing for his mother? That Brett Easton Ellis sawed women in half? That Stephen King worshiped Nazi atrocities? That Gore Vidal was a transsexual? That William Golding slaughtered an overweight child? That John Fowles kidnapped a young woman and kept her hostage in his basement? That Anthony Burgess wanted to rape young girls? Or that Flaubert really WAS Madame Bovary? The subject always interests in the writing because, hopefully, the subject is interesting. But the drama on the page has in the artist's mind an intuitive quality, an impulse somewhat vague in its origins since the process of writing it into a story is the attempt to render the impulse legible.
Of course writers like Tennessee Williams used their autobiography and sexual inclinations to fuel their work, but no fair innuendizing unless the author fesses up or there is overwhelming proof--otherwise this sort of thinking leads to censorship and stigmatization, or the weird idea that all the women in Proust are really men in drag; that he was unable to interpret the world without those inverted goggles of his.

On Thursday, September 10, 2015 3:59 PM, Nabokv-L <nabokv-l@UTK.EDU> wrote:

| Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] Was Nabokov a Hebephile\Ephebophile? |
| From: Stadlen <> |
| Date: 9/9/2015 6:12 PM |

| To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU> |

I can see Jansy's point, but in a way it makes me all the more indignant. Is not someone who accepts money to give a public interview and then becomes an "unreliable interviewee", by lying (in, for example, a journal for which his admiring readers pay good money), dishonouring his contract? Of course, it's only an hypothesis that he was lying. But isn't it fairly clear by now that when Nabokov imagines a character molesting a minor female he is somehow "interested" in that imagined young girl in a way he explicitly and expressly pretends, in interviews, he is not.
Perhaps we should have been warned by his admission that his afterword to the paradigm book for this discussion "may" strike him himself as an "impersonation" of Vladimir Nabokov talking about his own book.

Anthony Stadlen
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