Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0027102, Sat, 9 Jul 2016 11:51:40 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] [old SIGHTING] List of 10 funniest books
(Publishers Weekly,May 2016)
Eric Hyman: Let me make a counter-suggestion to the inclusion of Pnin in the
“Ten Funniest Books.” The first time I read Pnin, yes, I did find it
“profoundly funny,” but in all my subsequent readings I found it much more
profoundly sad..." (comments on
70492-10-funniest-books.html [ ] "Pnin, Nabokov’s more straightforward
novel of émigré dislocation, might be funnier joke for joke, but Pale
Fireis, I think, more profoundly funny, more fundamentally funny, since the
funniness is built into the form itself: our mad narrator Charles Kinbote
constructs an entire world through a misreading of John Shade’s poignant

Jansy Mello: An excellent suggestion to put multilevel "Pnin" into
perspective. Chance helped me to read various lines in "Pnin" in proximity
to "Signs and Symbols" and the heartbroken but courageous character's plight
under the Nazis so poignantly present in both, despite their different
narrative choices: there is no irony in the short-story and no authorial
cruelty (as we may find it being voiced by the Narrator in the novel when he
seduces his audience into cruel laughter - like it happens in Cervantes'
Dom Quixote...).

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