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Balzacorama: Panoramic Vision in Nabokov’s Lolita

Balzacorama: Panoramic Vision in Nabokov’s Lolita balzacorama: panoramic vision in nabokov's lolita Melissa Frazier Nabokov is known for his difficult relationship with Dostoevsky; his relationship with Balzac was troubled in exactly the same way. Both show up in Nabokov's lists of Bad Writers, for example, in his angry response to Edmund Wilson in "Reply to My Critics": Finally--Mr. Wilson is horrified by my "instinct to take digs at great reputations." . . . What right has he to prevent me from finding mediocre and overrated people like Balzac, Dostoevski, Sainte-Beuve, or Stendhal . . .? . . . Has he ever studied Balzac's absurdities and Stendhal's clichés? Has he examined the melodramatic muddle and phony mysticism of Dostoevski?1 The two are also attacked separately in strikingly similar terms. In his notes to his translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Nabokov famously glosses Dostoevsky as "a much overrated, sentimental and Gothic novelist of the time."2 In the notes to his translation of Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time, his criticism of Balzac is much the same: "The allusion is to La Femme de Trente Ans in Scènes de la Vie Privée, 1828­44, a vulgar novelette, ending in ridiculous melodrama, by the overrated French writer, Balzac."3 With http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Studies Penn State University Press

Balzacorama: Panoramic Vision in Nabokov’s Lolita

Comparative Literature Studies , Volume 48 (4) – Jan 1, 2011

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Penn State University Press
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Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
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1528-4212
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Abstract

balzacorama: panoramic vision in nabokov's lolita Melissa Frazier Nabokov is known for his difficult relationship with Dostoevsky; his relationship with Balzac was troubled in exactly the same way. Both show up in Nabokov's lists of Bad Writers, for example, in his angry response to Edmund Wilson in "Reply to My Critics": Finally--Mr. Wilson is horrified by my "instinct to take digs at great reputations." . . . What right has he to prevent me from finding mediocre and overrated people like Balzac, Dostoevski, Sainte-Beuve, or Stendhal . . .? . . . Has he ever studied Balzac's absurdities and Stendhal's clichés? Has he examined the melodramatic muddle and phony mysticism of Dostoevski?1 The two are also attacked separately in strikingly similar terms. In his notes to his translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Nabokov famously glosses Dostoevsky as "a much overrated, sentimental and Gothic novelist of the time."2 In the notes to his translation of Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time, his criticism of Balzac is much the same: "The allusion is to La Femme de Trente Ans in Scènes de la Vie Privée, 1828­44, a vulgar novelette, ending in ridiculous melodrama, by the overrated French writer, Balzac."3 With

Journal

Comparative Literature StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2011

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