Monday, October 18, 2004


Nabokov lived in Berlin for 15 years and worked as a translator, tutor, and tennis coach. He won acceptance as the leading young writer in the Berlin Russian community. Most of his readers were Russian émigrés - in the Soviet Russia his books were banned or ignored. In his early works Nabokov dealt with the death, the flow of time and sense of loss. Already using complex metaphors, Nabokov themes became later more ambiguous puzzles - he was a remarkable chess player - that challenge the reader to involve in the game. ''Readers are not sheep," he once wrote to a publisher, "and not every pen (pun) tempts them." In LECTURES ON LITERATURE (1980) Nabokov wrote that to be a good reader one do not have to lean heavily on emotional identification, action, and the social-economic or historical angle, or belong to a book club. "The good reader is one who has imagination, memory, a dictionary, and some artistic sense - which sense I propose to develop in myself and in others whenever I have the chance."
This excerpt was found on the website:
I found it interesting that it referred Nabokov to a chess player and that the reader is really challenged by a good story. Ambiguity in a story has always intrigued me. This seems like a good metaphor to relate to one's own writings.


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