NABOKV-L post 0004412, Sun, 26 Sep 1999 19:52:11 -0700

Re: George Steiner's New Yorker article debunking Nabokov (fwd)
EDITOR's NOTE. Phillip Iannarelli sent in the query below and, at my
request, supplied addition info in the message below. Can anyone identify
and locate the Steiner article?

Years ago I read an article in The New Yorker by Steiner debunking
> and could never find it again. More importantly, I wondered if anyone
>has refuted that article anywhere in print or on a Nabokov website. Can
>you help?

Date: Sun, 26 Sep 1999 19:35:59 EDT
Subject: Re: George Stiener's New Yorker article debunking Nabokov

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I just remember that the article was extremely belittling to N. Steiner said
that N had very little to say and was a minor author. He said N. was an
imaginative prose stylist, but not an important writer and took each book
one by one to demonstrate it. I was quite taken aback by the article. Just
the way a woman in the New Yorker wrote a debunking article on T.S. Eliot,
which I'd also like to find. I don't know if The New Yorker has a
bibliography or index of all their articles. They must.

But you know, sometimes these negative articles are like a breath of fresh
air after reading so many scholarly articles on minutiae of an author's work.

But then Steiner is a history of ideas man and we know what N. thought about
As for me, I always thought of N as the Russian Proust. He's an extension of
Proust and without Proust you couldn't have had Nabokov. Yes, Nabokov is a
memory man.

Anyway, I am sure other people have read the Steiner piece. I am surprised
it's not in the N. bibliography. The other Steiner article you mentioned is
in it.

Hope somebody can help and especially refute Steiner. I am surprised N's son
never said anything about it. This article cannot have just disappeared
without comment. No way! I am shocked it didn't start one of those "wars" a
la New York Review of Books.

Phillip Iannarelli