Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023493, Sun, 2 Dec 2012 17:21:17 -0500

BIB: Kleinberg-Levin on happiness and language in VN and Wallace
David Kleinberg-Levin writes:

If you enjoy reading Nabokov, I would like to call attention to my recently
published book. Published by Lexington Books (Rowman & Littlefield), the
title is: *Redeeming Words and the Promise of Happiness: A Critical Theory
Approach to Wallace Stevens and Vladimir Nabokov*. In a nutshell, my
argument is, first, that language is, as such, in its very existence, the
bearer, the vehicle, for the utopian "promise of happiness" (Stendahl's
"promesse de bonheur"), and that in the way that they use language,
creating all kinds of word-plays, language is a mimetic anticipation of
that promise of happiness, because in their word-plays, the two senses of
"sense," namely sensuous sense and cognitive sense, are working together
for aesthetic effect, hence in a moment of reconciliation that anticipates,
or at least keeps alive the hope for, the dream of a greater, larger
reconciliation involving all the antagonisms and contradictions that
society today suffers from. I also show how Nab okov creates and then
destroys narrative structures, revealing, as if inspired by Mallarmé, the
white paper and printer's ink that are the material, sensuous substratum
of the narrative. Thus, as we readers face the surface upon which his
writing creates an enchanting narrative structure that the narrative's own
reflexivity stunningly erases before our very eyes, reducing the fiction to
its material conditions of possibility, we are reminded of the artifice in
literature—a dialectical process of enchantment, disenchantment, and, when
we realize that it's all the magic of literature, we once again experience
enchantment, but now, an enchantment that understands and has been enriched
by the dialectic of reading.

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