Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023807, Tue, 19 Mar 2013 09:25:09 +0100

Response to Mark Roth's Pitzer's Secret History
Dear All,

A quick response to Mark Roth and a quick note about my review of Andrea
Pitzer’s *The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov *in *Salon/LA Review of
Books,* which is actually not so much of a book review as an essay about
theater and history. I take the recent publication of Pitzer’s book and
Nabokov’s early play *The Tragedy of Mr. Morn *as well as the recent
interest in Nabokov's dramatic works as an occasion to think about what
Siggy Frank has aptly called Nabokov’s “theatrical imagination.” Hence the
original title: “Disappearing Acts: Nabokov and the Theater of History.”
The Boston Globe piece is a straightforward book review and I’m thankful to
Mark Roth for sending it along.

I don’t call Andrea Pitzer *herself* “a solemn reader” and I write that
her archival research is to be admired. I enjoyed the book and wanted to
write about it. My main point was to engage in a conversation and to offer
another perspective on how to potentially think about what Nabokov might be
doing with the wealth of historical material that Pitzer brings to the fore
(and which I call helpful in the essay)—a theatrical transformation (a
metamorphosis). It would be interesting to hear about other ways of looking
at Nabokov’s use of history in his works. I am grateful for Pitzer’s
addition to the collective knowledge of Nabokov and hope that her book is
an occasion not only for positive or negative book reviews but also for
stimulating exchanges and conversations between scholars and lovers of
Nabokov. I don’t think such conversations need be thought as “threats to
approaches.” Respectful disagreements can be very productive.

With warm wishes,


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