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April 3, 2008 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Vladimir Nabokov discusses Lolita with Lionel Trilling.

The moderator is Pierre Berton of the CBC.
posted by mattbucher (23 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
So rare to see such delightful, stimulating conversation. On television, no less!
posted by Dizzy at 10:10 AM on April 3, 2008


This is awesome, thank you!
posted by nonmerci at 10:24 AM on April 3, 2008


Really loving it so far - Trilling is spot on when he says during the first part not to trust what authors say about their own intentions - and Nabokov just keeps grinning his little grin...and dolling out his teasing answers about his intentions!

Thanks.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:25 AM on April 3, 2008


The guy who works in the CBC archive must be the happiest man in all the Dominion. Bastard.

Thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:33 AM on April 3, 2008


Oh my God, I've never seen Nabokov "live" before, much less Trilling, who I've been curious about for years. Nabokov is more Nabokovian that I could have imagined. Thank you!
posted by digaman at 10:55 AM on April 3, 2008


*than
posted by digaman at 10:55 AM on April 3, 2008


Wonderful! "I don't want to touch hearts and I don't really want to affect minds that much... I leave that sort of thing to Doctor Schweitzer and Doctor Zhivago"—love that guy!

Anyone interested in Trilling's view of the book (typically sensible, humane, and clueless about what makes Nabokov a great writer, at least in his own and my eyes) should read his review "The Last Lover" (1958, originally in The Griffin and republished that same year in Encounter, now available in the collection The Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent); a snippet: "[Humbert] is the less attractive by reason of the style in which he chiefly writes about himself—whoever has tried to keep a journal and has been abashed at reading it by the apologetic, self-referring, self-exculpating whine of the prose, and by the very irony which is used to modify this deplorable tone, will recognize the manner of most of Lolita."
posted by languagehat at 11:13 AM on April 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Fantastic post! Thanks!
posted by ClanvidHorse at 11:44 AM on April 3, 2008


Best post for many weeks. All hail mattbucher.
posted by Mocata at 12:44 PM on April 3, 2008


(And I don't even like Nabokov as much as some people do.)
posted by Mocata at 12:45 PM on April 3, 2008


That was exceptionally bizarre TV (leaving aside how great the content is). What was with that giant candelabra in the middle of the shot? And why did they suddenly all move to the couch? I love it.
posted by The Bellman at 12:53 PM on April 3, 2008


Well, it appears I've been pronouncing "Nabokov" wrong for about twenty years. I can't believe nobody said anything.
posted by nanojath at 12:57 PM on April 3, 2008


This is good stuff. Another thanks from over here!
posted by eponymouse at 2:18 PM on April 3, 2008


nanojath, same here. this is probably the first time i've seen him interviewed like this before, though, but you'd think somewhere between elementary school and now, someone would've known that this is the correct pronunciation and told me.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:22 PM on April 3, 2008


languagehat wrote thus:

Wonderful! "I don't want to touch hearts and I don't really want to affect minds that much... I leave that sort of thing to Doctor Schweitzer and Doctor Zhivago"—love that guy!

ditto!
great find, thank you.
posted by Substrata at 3:43 PM on April 3, 2008


Mispronouncing the author's name?
Blame Sting.
posted by Dizzy at 6:30 PM on April 3, 2008


what makes Nabokov a great writer, at least in his own and my eyes

Myself, I've always been a bit of an admiring skeptic, and as such would be interested if you would expound briefly.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:34 PM on April 3, 2008


[this is my favorite MeFi post ever]

It is a monument, somewhere in the garden, in the shade.

Beautiful. Thank you.
posted by trip and a half at 9:26 PM on April 3, 2008


The "rather dummy-like vronsky" bows before this post.
posted by vronsky at 11:09 PM on April 3, 2008


48 favorites. Nice.
posted by digaman at 10:58 AM on April 4, 2008


Wow. This really is something.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:37 PM on April 4, 2008


Myself, I've always been a bit of an admiring skeptic, and as such would be interested if you would expound briefly.

As it happens, I just made a post at LH that may help with this.
posted by languagehat at 2:32 PM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, okay, and thanks. (Never had a beef with Pushkin, quite the opposite - Russianless though I am. It's on the schedule for retirement.) Given the way mefi goes, I expect this will come up again.

By the way, never thanked mattbucher for the post which was forwarded widely and as widely appreciated. Thanks, mattbucher.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:22 PM on April 5, 2008


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