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Lectures on Literature by Vladimir Nabokov

Lectures on Literature (original 1980; edition 1982)

by Vladimir Nabokov (Author)

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1,3541213,841 (4.22)22
For two decades, first at Wellesley and then at Cornell, Nabokov introduced undergraduates to the delights of great fiction. Here, collected for the first time, are his famous lectures, which include Mansfield Park, Bleak House, and Ulysses. Edited and with a Foreword by Fredson Bowers; Introduction by John Updike; illustrations.… (more)
Title:Lectures on Literature
Authors:Vladimir Nabokov (Author)
Info:Harcourt Publishers Ltd (1982), 382 pages
Collections:Your library

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Lectures on Literature by Vladimir Nabokov (1980)


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» See also 22 mentions

English (9)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Russian (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Ok, we’ll, I haven’t finished this completely but the only way to make notes here is to mark it as read.

“The truth is that great novels are great fairy tales - and the novels in this series are supreme fairy tales.”

My favorite quote from Nabokov is “Curiously enough one cannot read a book; one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader.” I am beginning to better understand this in relation to literature (as opposed to fiction).

So I’d started this book 4 years ago when I read Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. (I think I bought Nabokov’s lectures nearly forty years ago with plans to read it leisurely when I had time…which took until I retired). Nabokov’s analysis impressed me when it dug into the physical layout of the house and diagramed it.

Then last year I finally read Joyce’s Ulysses. And loved Nabokov’s lecture on it. And I agree with him as to the man in the brown Macintosh.

I need to reread his essays on both these works.

And now I’ve just finished Austen’s Mansfield Park. Again, Nabokov diagrams the physical space, the geography. I find that a curious but interesting/ refreshing approach. I like how he examines Austen’s social critiques (the dimpled sentence; the epigrammatic intonation). I like how he examines the speech patterns of characters and what it reveals about them. And he notes that Austen doesn’t spend much on describing scenery but rather reveals through dialogue. Though he notes in the description of the Price house, Fanny’s childhood house, how it would have been described as Dickensian if Dickens had written before Austen. I like how he perceives the book as being a play itself, not just a novel. And I like how he picks up on Austen’s use of what we would call today Fanny’s stream of consciousness.

So on to read Dickens, Flaubert and Proust. And the Russian writers for Nabokov’s other volume ( )
  jimgosailing | Nov 18, 2021 |
If you ever wanted to know what a scholar who can write with depth and immediacy about masterpieces has to say, this is the one. Sip or gulp, this book can be read in minute segments or holus bolus and much can be gained. Worth it. ( )
  Eoin | Jun 3, 2019 |
At first I was wary of this book, being a former grad student and current exile from the literary academy with no interest in rejoining those stale debates. But what a breath of fresh air it proved to be. Nabokov was, not surprisingly, a keen reader, and he brings all his technical prowess to bear on works from Dickens, Austen, Flaubert, and others. He has the gift of entering a work on its own terms and bringing it to life, not deadening it with some inane theory. I read these lectures alongside the books they describe, and I found them delightfully illuminating. ( )
  MichaelBarsa | Dec 17, 2017 |
A good book that makes a case for his author rather than ideological literary thesis. ( )
  wonderperson | Mar 31, 2013 |
Mais interessante do que ler as aulas do Nabokov sobre clássicos da literatura mundial é perceber a sua aristocrática, fantástica concepção de arte.
Logo no prefácio, Good Readers and Good Writers, ele diz que um bom leitor deve ter imaginação, memória, senso artístico e um dicionário. E enumera os erros que as pessoas cometem quando tentam pensar em um bom leitor: elas acham que eles devem pertencer a um clube do livro, identificar-se com o herói ou heroína, ter visto o filme, devem ter um ângulo socio-econômico, preferir um livro com ação e diálogos.
Depois, em seis aulas sobre livros de Jane Austen, Dickens, Flaubert, Stevenson, Proust, Kafka e James Joyce, ele reafirma sua convicções e a imagem de leitor apaixonado e detalhista. Tudo isso na tentativa de explicar como ocorre aquele Tell-tale tingle. ( )
  JuliaBoechat | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nabokov, Vladimirprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bowers, FredsonEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Updike, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My course, among other things, is a kind of detective investigation of the mystery of literary structures.
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"How to be a Good Reader" or "Kindness to Authors" -- something of that sort might serve to provide a subtitle for these various discussions of various authors, for my plan is to deal lovingly in loving and lingering detail, with several European masterpieces.
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For two decades, first at Wellesley and then at Cornell, Nabokov introduced undergraduates to the delights of great fiction. Here, collected for the first time, are his famous lectures, which include Mansfield Park, Bleak House, and Ulysses. Edited and with a Foreword by Fredson Bowers; Introduction by John Updike; illustrations.

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