Saturday, May 8, 2010

Nabokov as St. John's College tutor

"Nothing is more boring or more unfair to the author than starting to read, say, Madame Bovary, with the preconceived notion that it is a denunciation of the bourgeoisie. We should always remember that the work of art is invariably the creation of a new world, so that the first thing we should do is to study that new world as closely as possible, approaching it as something brand new, having no obvious connection with the worlds we already know. When this new world has been closely studied, then and only then let us examine its links with other worlds, other branches of knowledge."--from "Good Readers and Good Writers" (1948)," re-printed as the preface to Lectures on Literature (1980)

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