Dear List,


A great many essays and books have been published about Nabokov’s life and Works. Nowadays his words in isolated quotes appear in different blogs, as well as informal commentaries and discussions online. Some of the summaries can be rather astonishing to any “sound-minded Nabokovian” (even those who don’t avoid Ada or Ardor, for example, using the term employed in the note below) and appear in apparently “sound-minded” sites and most don’t deserve a space in any serious VN-List. I’m posting an excerpt of a “biographical summary” because it appears at a pretentious NNDV address, but only as an information about one of the goings-on in the internet. I hope our EDs will agree with my view and send it along as a disagreeable “curiosity”


“…Lolita brought Nabokov the condemnation of moralists and provided his ticket out of academia. While the professorial lifestyle sustained him and drove the creation of his masterpiece, he savaged the university in his prose, through the precious lecturer-poet in Pale Fire (1962), and the storybook about bumbling Professor Pnin (1957) -- the latter modeled viciously after a colleague at Ithaca. Both are pursued by a sociopathic narrator with murderous intent. The professionals responded in kind. After the success of Lolita, Nabokov applied for a position at Harvard, but was rebuffed. In rejecting him, the linguist Roman Jakobson wrote: "Gentlemen, even if one allows that he is an important writer, are we next to invite an elephant to be Professor of Zoology?‎" [   ] He spent a decade crafting a word-for-word translation and commentary on Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. The fiction continued, but his works post-Lolita do not attract much interest. Sound-minded Nabokovians tend to avoid the ponderousTolstoyan send-up Ada or Ardor (1969), or confront it only out of desperation. A crowd of tweedy Pninoids sustain Nabokov's legacy now, making careers deciphering his puzzles and interpreting the optical illusions hidden in his prose.

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