Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000037, Wed, 21 Jul 1993 10:49:49 -0700

Nabokov and Academia (fwd)
My comment on the following is that Nabokov is in fact quite widely taught
both in courses devoted entirely to his work and as part of more general
courses. Other reactions? As an afterthought--some idea of the extent of
Nabokov studies can be gained from following THE NABOKOVIAN, the bi-annual
publication of the NABOKOV Society. Details on request.
D. Barton Johnson

---------- Text of forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1993 14:40:39 -0300
From: BPHOLMES@ac.dal.ca
To: nabokv-l@ucsbvm.bitnet
Subject: Nabokov and Academia

I have a query concerning the study of Nabokov which has been gnawing
away at me for some time.

In his essay "A Refusal to Mourn the Death ... of Literature in the
Eighties" (in John Metcalf [ed.], Carry on Bumping [Toronto: ECW, 1988]),
Ray Smith writes:

"Know why V.N isn't taught as much as he deserves? I'll bet he has
disappeared in a jurisdictional dispute between departments of Russian,
English, and Comparative Lit."

Is there any truth to what Smith writes? And, if not, how are we to
account for the dearth of courses in his work?

(My current theory is that Nabokov is difficult to teach because, unlike
other writers [such as, say, Thomas Mann], there are simply no
*ideas* in his fiction. What the reader is left with is gorgeous prose,
and style in prose can be so damn difficult to teach. Any comments?)

Boyd Holmes
School of Graduate Studies
Dalhousie University