NABOKV-L post 0025607, Tue, 12 Aug 2014 18:25:45 -0300

Subject
J.M.Tonn "Nabokov and the Problem of Distortion"
Date
Body
While reading articles related to "Cloud,Castle,Lake" I missed out at that
time James M. Tonn's dissertation (November 2011) where he includes a
discussion about that short-story. I only discovered it by thanks to my
digital fortune (as usual) since my search was merely oriented towards a
quote about the story about the majolica jar and it carried me to a most
informative and enjoyable work.




<http://dataspace.princeton.edu/jspui/bitstream/88435/dsp01kd17cs869/1/Tonn_
princeton_0181D_10058.pdf>
http://dataspace.princeton.edu/jspui/bitstream/88435/dsp01kd17cs869/1/Tonn_p
rinceton_0181D_10058.pdf

BETWEEN US AND ARTISTIC APPRECIATION: NABOKOV AND THE PROBLEM OF DISTORTION
by James M. Tonn - November 2011





Abstract

Vladimir Nabokov's view of art and life is confounded by a problem of
"distortion," wherein meaning and aesthetic value are obscured when
information from a complex form of

experience is presented in an inadequate medium (a situation that is
analogous to the projection of a three-dimensional globe as a
two-dimensional map). For example, Nabokov

claims that a work of literature originates in a state of mind in which the
author can appreciate all parts of the work and their interconnections
simultaneously; but when it is written out as a

linear text, the relationships among the parts are rendered indistinct. This
dissertation focuses on Nabokov's preoccupation with distortion and his
interest in the possibility of glimpsing what

is beyond it. Chapter one describes in detail the attributes of distortion
and its use in Nabokov's work as a literary device. The second chapter
conceptualizes the source of distortion as

situations in which a less-circumscribed "outer" level of experience is
viewed from a more circumscribed "inner" one. The remainder of the
dissertation deals with Nabokov's fascination

with ways of looking at things so that aesthetic value can be apprehended in
spite of distortion. Chapter three discusses a compulsion among some of
Nabokov's characters to overcome

distortion by identifying a piece of information that lends order to what is
observed. The fourth chapter addresses Nabokov's efforts to achieve
"manifold awareness," a type of perception

that resembles the simultaneous state of mind in which a work of literature
is said to originate. This chapter also touches upon Nabokov's desire to
escape from the constraints of time and

space, which produce distortion by imposing distance and sequence on the
events of life. The final chapter explains Nabokov's use of imagery of
geometrical dimensions to depict vantage

points from which multiple things may be viewed in juxtaposition with one
another. Texts from Nabokov's entire literary career are addressed in this
dissertation, demonstrating that the

phenomena under discussion are a systematic concern of his work.


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