Two quotations. I think the second puts the first in persepective. Still working on exactly how.
This first, from a review of a book about VN:
Nabokov is a famous writer, but he deserves to be infamous as a disseminator of unhelpful dogmas about writing. His worst ideas, invariably, were about ideas. “Caress the details! The divine details!” Nabokov said. This is sound advice, if a little vague. What is not sound is this, something Nabokov also said: “Style and structure are the essence of a book; great ideas are hogwash.” Nabokov dismissed Henry James as a “pale porpoise” and Joseph Conrad as a “writer of books for boys.”Then this, from the Amazon page for Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End:
Nabokov is a towering genius; it is in the nature of Zeus to throw thunderbolts. Still, thunder echoes. Nabokov didn’t believe in great ideas, but he did believe in patterns. And so Nabokovians believe in patterns, too. They believe in them messianically. They think the thrill of discerning a subtle pattern is the highest sensation that art, and possibly life itself, affords. Here is [admirer Lila Azam] Zanganeh: “To observant men, these Nabokovian patterns, magically, will offer the inkling of an ‘otherworld,’ the ineffable beauty and concord of which is cause for infinite happiness.” The most compelling statement of this position appears in Nabokov’s book on Gogol, where he defines art as “the dazzling combination of drab parts.”
"Of the various demands one can make of the novelist, that he show us the way in which a society works, that he show an understanding of the human heart, that he create characters whose reality we believe and for whose fate we care, that he describe things and people so that we feel their physical presence, that he illuminate our moral consciousness, that he make us laugh and cry, that he delight us by his craftsmanship, there is not one, it seems to me, that Ford does not completely satisfy. There are not many English novels which deserve to be called great: Parade's End is one of them." -- W.H. Auden