Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004797, Tue, 22 Feb 2000 11:49:39 -0800

Gore Vidal & PALE FIRE
EDITOR's NOTE. I have been putting myself to sleep at night reading Gore
Vidal's name-dropping memoir PALIMPSEST. On p. 229 of the
Penguin paperback:
"I also, suddenly, recall with shame the only time I was a judge for a
literary prize (with Elizabeth Hardwick and Professor Harry Levin of
Harvard). Lizzie and I wanted the prize to go to _Morte d'Urban_ by
J.F. Powers. Levin argued powerfully for Naboov's _Pale Fire_. _Lolita_,
yes, I said, but to this latest overelaborate bit of academic funning,
no. Levin then saidthat he would accede to our bad raste if we would drop
from the list of finalists a book so terrible that it might destroy
literature. Cravenly, we erased _Naked Lunch_. Yet even then, I suspected
that Levin's hatred of the book was proof of its merit. I was never again
a judge."

D. Barton Johnson
Department of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Studies
Phelps Hall
University of California at Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Phone and Fax: (805) 687-1825
Home Phone: (805) 682-4618