Thursday, September 5, 2013

Nabokov's Lecture on Proust

Today, I was re-reading Nabokov's lecture on Remembrance of Things Past, in his Lectures on Literature.

I was reminded what a joy it is to read concise but elegant meditations on fiction. Most criticism, especially most post-modern criticism, is (for someone like me- ie., interested but not terribly invested) a labor. Too much "grounding" of the work in tracts of philosophy and pseudo-psychoanalysis leaves the book complete untethered from the reading experience.

One thing I like about Nabokov's lectures is his willing to make sweeping assertions and then back them up with anecdotes from the novel in question. I think that if only someone had handed me his lectures in high school or as an undergrad and told me, "This is how you're supposed to write," then I might have been a far more successful student.

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