Strong Opinions

Strong Opinions

Vladimir Nabokov

Language: English

Pages: 368

ISBN: 0679726098

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In this collection of interviews, articles, and editorials, Nabokov ranges over his life, art, education, politics, literature, movies, and modern times, among other subjects.  Strong Opinions offers his trenchant, witty, and always engaging views on everything from the Russian Revolution to the correct pronunciation of Lolita.

George Steiner at the New Yorker

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Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me












Selenginsk, an old town in Siberia: moon-rocket town" . "Berry: the black knob on the bill of the mute swan" ... "Dropworm: a small caterpillar hanging on a thread" ... "In The New Bon Ton Magazine, volume five, 1820, page 312, prostitutes are termed 'girls of the town'" ... "Youth dreams: forgot pants; old man dreams: forgot dentures" ... "Student explains that when reading a novel he likes to skip passages 'so as to get his own idea about the book and not be influenced by the author"' ... "N

merican writing since 1945? Well, seldom more than two or three really first-rate writers exist simultaneously in a given generation. I think that Salinger and Updike are by far the finest artists in recent years. The sexy, phony type of best seller, the violent, vulgar novel, the novelistic treatment of social or political problems, and, in general, novels consisting mainly of dialogue or social comment-these are absolutely han ned from my bedside. And the popular mIxture of [57] pornography

as "the moment of truth," "charisma," "existential" (used seriously), "dialogue" (as applied to political talks between nations), and "vocabulary" (as applied to a dauber). Listing in one breath Auschwitz, Hiroshima, and Vietnam is seditious poshlost. Belonging to a very select club (which sports one Jewish name-that of the treasurer) is genteel poshlost. Hack reviews are frequently poshlost, but it also lurks in certain highbrow essays. Poshlost calls Mr. Blank a great poet, and Mr. Bluff a

moth-eaten couch of a German boardinghouse, are suppressed in the country of my birth. It's Russia's loss, not mIne. There is a sense, in all your fiction, of the imagined being so much truer than boring old reality. Do you see the categories of imagination, dream, and reality as distinct and, if so, in what way? Your use of the word "reality" perplexes me. To be sure, there is an average reality, perceived by all of us, but that is not true reality: it is only the reality of general ideas,

write my stuff on index cards, in pencil, at a lectern, in the forenoon; but I still tend to do a lot of work in my head [ 139] during long walks in the country on dull days when butterflies do not interfere. Here is a disappointed lepidopterist's ditty: It's a long climb Up the rock face At the wrong time To the right place. Do you keep a journal or seek documentary reminders? I am an ardent memoirist with a rotten memory; a drowsy king's absentminded remembrancer. With absolute lucidity I

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