Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday Nabokov Blogging

I have never been interested in what is called the literature of social comment (in journalistic and commercial parlance: 'great books'). I am not 'sincere', I am not 'provocative', I am not 'satirical.' I am neither a didacticist nor an allegorizer. Politics and economics, atomic bombs, primitive and abstract art forms, the entire Orient, symptoms of 'thaw' in Soviet Russia, the Future of Mankind, and so on, leave me supremely indifferent.
From the 1963 preface to Bend Sinister.

3 comments:

Meredith said...

hah! hear hear.

Amos Johannes Hunt said...

Thanks. It's nice to be reminded that not everyone must be always "relevant."

Andrew said...

TOBH I find Nabokov emanates a rather distasteful personality. He seems to me rather proud of his indifference, or his egoism; egoism in the sense that his prime concern is personal pleasure, and broader concerns of humanity don't matter to him. Which doesn't mean I'm saying literature must be didactic, etc but Nabokov's idea of literature, if one is familiar with it, is to me very narrow and unsatisfactory. As he wrote of Gogol, "His work, as all great literary achievements, is a phenomenon of language and not of ideas." How true is this, I wonder? What if the language were fully imaginary and not referring to anything beyond itself. We would happily have removed literature from the stain of ideas, though what would it amount to?
I’ll essay an attempt at such a literature.
Angite mordotorium in axcelsciumbittybump.
Be bumpittybump
Bitty boo.

Sorry for a rather grumpy first post.