Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reading Nabokov Whole*

Vladimir Nabokov's startling brilliance as an author has frequently been captured in the image of a conjurer. In this constellation, Nabokov is a writer capable of pulling intricate thematic and verbal rabbits out of textual hats and of magically turning the limpid water of his prose into the headiest of poetic wines. As an object of critical inquiry, however, a perhaps more fitting metaphor for Nabokov is that of the escape artist. Throughout the course of twentieth-century letters in the two linguistic traditions he so decisively influenced, criticism was never able conclusively to fix and detain Nabokov within the conventions of any school or style other than of his own inimitable …

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