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Style is Matter: The moral art of Vladimir Nabokov

De La durantaye, Leland

Verlag: Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, U.S.A., 2007
ISBN 10: 0801445639 / ISBN 13: 9780801445637
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Titel: Style is Matter: The moral art of Vladimir ...

Verlag: Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, U.S.A.

Erscheinungsdatum: 2007

Einband: hardcover

Zustand: As New

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: As New

Auflage: First Edition.

Art des Buches: Used

Beschreibung:

Hardback in as-new condition: minor shelfwear only; contents clean, sound, bright throughout. TPW. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 239231

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Inhaltsangabe:

"How should we read Lolita? The beginning of an answer is that we should read it the way all great works deserve to be read: with attention and intelligence. But what sort of attention should we pay and what sort of intelligence should we apply to a work of art that recounts so much love, so much loss, so much thoughtlessness--and across which flashes something we might be tempted to call evil? To begin with, we should read with the attention and intelligence we call empathy. A point on which all readers can agree is that great literature offers us a lesson in empathy: it encourages us to feel with the strange and the familiar, the strong and the weak, the vulgar and the cultivated, the young and the old, the lover and the beloved. It urges us to see our own fates as connected to those of others, to link the starry sky we see above us with whatever moral laws we might sense within."--from Style is Matter

"Some of my characters are, no doubt, pretty beastly, but I really don't care, they are outside my inner self like the mournful monsters of a cathedral facade--demons placed there merely to show that they have been booted out."--Vladimir Nabokov, Strong Opinions

With this quote Leland de la Durantaye launches his elegant and incisive exploration of the ethics of art in the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov. Focusing on Lolita but also addressing other major works (especially Speak, Memory and Pale Fire), the author asks whether the work of this writer whom many find cruel contains a moral message and, if so, why that message is so artfully concealed. Style is Matter places Nabokov's work once and for all into dialogue with some of the most basic issues concerning the ethics of writing and of reading itself.

De la Durantaye argues that Humbert's narrative confession artfully seduces the reader into complicity with his dark fantasies and even darker acts until the very end, where he expresses his bitter regret for what he has done. In this sense, Lolita becomes a study in the danger of art, the artist's responsibility to the real world, and the perils and pitfalls of reading itself. In addition to Nabokov's fictions, de la Durantaye also draws on his nonfiction writings to explore Nabokov's belief that all genuine art is deceptive--as is nature itself. Through de la Durantaye's deft and compelling writing, we see that Nabokov learned valuable lessons in mimicry and camouflage from the intricate patterns of the butterflies he adored.

Rezension: "Hitler's mass murderer, Eichmann, when awaiting trial in Jerusalem, read Nabokov's Lolita. He pronounced it an immoral book. Readers less famous but equally perceptive have agreed. The editor of the Scottish-Sunday Express found Lolita, 'the filthiest book I have ever read.' The author of Style is Matter does not, of course, spend much time refuting the absurdity of these views. His splendidly insightful, readable book deals not only with the moral nature of Nabokov's novels but also with the ethical dimension of great fiction, and of all great art. Readers need not be troubled-by the expectation of seeing what I suppose will be their own point of view argued, however ably, for this book is a constantly surprising and delightful work of criticism."-Clarence Brown, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Princeton University

"Style is Matter is beautifully written, and it is a pleasure to read. While Leland de la Durantaye expresses a sufficient number of 'strong opinions' of his own that are likely to provoke debate, he has done a fine job of outlining how Nabokov's art works, and why it resists facile interpretation. This book will serve as a useful reference point for future discussions of Lolita and Nabokov's work as a whole." Slavic Review"

"The focal point of Durantaye's graceful and thoughtful book is Lolita, in particular the ambivalence the uneasy mixture of empathy and antipathy that most readers and critics feel toward the novel's hero and narrator, Humbert Humbert. At once seducing readers through his rhetorical skill and repelling them through his vile behavior, Humbert raises in especially acute form the question of the interrelationship in Lolita of the aesthetic and the moral a matter that has exercised Nabokov's best critics, and not only of Lolita. Therefore, while using Lolita as a starting point and a touchstone, de la Durantaye looks to the whole body of Nabokov's writing." Nabokov Online Journal"

"The centerpiece of this erudite, philosophically sophisticated study is Nabokov's Lolita most particularly, the moral issues intrinsic to its subject and structure and the hotly debated questions to which they give rise. In an effort to solve the 'riddle' of how to read this controversial novel, Durantaye also discusses relevant aspects of numerous other works of Nabokov's fiction, from his earliest Russian novel, Mary, to the last one he completed in English, Look at the Harlequins! Cutting a broad swath through Nabokov's oeuvre, the author at the same time digs deep, paying as much, if not more, attention to Nabokov's statements and opinions about art-culled from the author's abundant letters, interviews, essays, lectures, scholarly studies, and translation projects-as he does to the verbal texture, or style, of a specific novel, Lolita included." Nabokov Studies"

"Hitler's mass murderer, Eichmann, when awaiting trial in Jerusalem, read Nabokov's Lolita. He pronounced it an immoral book. Readers less famous but equally perceptive have agreed. The editor of the Scottish Sunday Express found Lolita, 'the filthiest book I have ever read.' The author of Style is Matter does not, of course, spend much time refuting the absurdity of these views. His splendidly insightful, readable book deals not only with the moral nature of Nabokov's novels but also with the ethical dimension of great fiction, and of all great art. Readers need not be troubled by the expectation of seeing what I suppose will be their own point of view argued, however ably, for this book is a constantly surprising and delightful work of criticism." Clarence Brown, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Princeton University"

"Style Is Matter offers a subtle, reflective, and well-grounded exploration of Nabokov's literary thought and practice from an ethical point of view where ethics, as Nabokov himself would insist, cannot be divorced from style, but never lapses into mere formalism. Leland de la Durantaye scrutinizes Nabokov's own often contradictory and flamboyant pronouncements on art, and combs the fiction both for theoretical claims and detailed examples of what Nabokov's literary ethic looks like when it's at work. This remarkable book is extremely well written, often witty, and informed throughout by a discreet intelligence and strong personal commitment to the material." Michael Wood, Charles Barnwell Straut Class of 1923 Professor and Professor of Comparative Literature, Princeton University, author of The Magician's Doubts: Nabokov and the Risks of Fiction"

"The contagious spirit of Nabokov himself, a style that is the matter of his masterpiece Lolita, has infected and affected the wise author of this lively new interpretation of the book, which offers an indispensable look at the moral art of the Master." Donald Harington, author of With"

"Hitler's mass murderer, Eichmann, when awaiting trial in Jerusalem, read Nabokov's Lolita. He pronounced it an immoral book. Readers less famous but equally perceptive have agreed. The editor of the Scottish Sunday Express found Lolita, 'the filthiest book I have ever read.' The author of Style is Matter does not, of course, spend much time refuting the absurdity of these views. His splendidly insightful, readable book deals not only with the moral nature of Nabokov's novels but also with the ethical dimension of great fiction, and of all great art. Readers need not be troubled by the expectation of seeing what I suppose will be their own point of view argued, however ably, for this book is a constantly surprising and delightful work of criticism." Clarence Brown, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Princeton University"

"Style Is Matter offers a subtle, reflective, and well-grounded exploration of Nabokov's literary thought and practice from an ethical point of view where ethics, as Nabokov himself would insist, cannot be divorced from style, but never lapses into mere formalism. Leland de la Durantaye scrutinizes Nabokov's own often contradictory and flamboyant pronouncements on art, and combs the fiction both for theoretical claims and detailed examples of what Nabokov's literary ethic looks like when it's at work. This remarkable book is extremely well written, often witty, and informed throughout by a discreet intelligence and strong personal commitment to the material." Michael Wood, Charles Barnwell Straut Class of 1923 Professor and Professor of Comparative Literature, Princeton University, author of The Magician's Doubts: Nabokov and the Risks of Fiction"

"The contagious spirit of Nabokov himself, a style that is the matter of his masterpiece Lolita, has infected and affected the wise author of this lively new interpretation of the book, which offers an indispensable look at the moral art of the Master." Donald Harington, author of With"

"Style is Matter is beautifully written, and it is a pleasure to read. While Leland de la Durantaye expresses a sufficient number of 'strong opinions' of his own that are likely to provoke debate, he has done a fine job of outlining how Nabokov's art works, and why it resists facile interpretation. This book will serve as a useful reference point for future discussions of Lolita and Nabokov's work as a whole."--Slavic Review



"The focal point of Durantaye's graceful and thoughtful book is Lolita, in particular the ambivalence--the uneasy mixture of empathy and antipathy--that most readers and critics feel toward the novel's hero and narrator, Humbert Humbert. At once seducing readers through his rhetorical skill and repelling them through his vile behavior, Humbert raises in especially acute form the question of the interrelationship in Lolita of the aesthetic and the moral--a matter that has exercised Nabokov's best critics, and not only of Lolita. Therefore, while using Lolita as a starting point and a touchstone, de la Durantaye looks to the whole body of Nabokov's writing."--Nabokov Online Journal



"The centerpiece of this erudite, philosophically sophisticated study is Nabokov's Lolita--most particularly, the moral issues intrinsic to its subject and structure and the hotly debated questions to which they give rise. In an effort to solve the 'riddle' of how to read this controversial novel, Durantaye also discusses relevant aspects of numerous other works of Nabokov's fiction, from his earliest Russian novel, Mary, to the last one he completed in English, Look at the Harlequins! Cutting a broad swath through Nabokov's oeuvre, the author at the same time digs deep, paying as much, if not more, attention to Nabokov's statements and opinions about art-culled from the author's abundant letters, interviews, essays, lectures, scholarly studies, and translation projects-as he does to the verbal texture, or style, of a specific novel, Lolita included."--Nabokov Studies



"Hitler's mass murderer, Eichmann, when awaiting trial in Jerusalem, read Nabokov's Lolita. He pronounced it an immoral book. Readers less famous but equally perceptive have agreed. The editor of the Scottish Sunday Express found Lolita, 'the filthiest book I have ever read.' The author of Style is Matter does not, of course, spend much time refuting the absurdity of these views. His splendidly insightful, readable book deals not only with the moral nature of Nabokov's novels but also with the ethical dimension of great fiction, and of all great art. Readers need not be troubled--by the expectation of seeing what I suppose will be their own point of view argued, however ably, for this book is a constantly surprising and delightful work of criticism."--Clarence Brown, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Princeton University



"Style Is Matter offers a subtle, reflective, and well-grounded exploration of Nabokov's literary thought and practice from an ethical point of view--where ethics, as Nabokov himself would insist, cannot be divorced from style, but never lapses into mere formalism. Leland de la Durantaye scrutinizes Nabokov's own often contradictory and flamboyant pronouncements on art, and combs the fiction both for theoretical claims and detailed examples of what Nabokov's literary ethic looks like when it's at work. This remarkable book is extremely well written, often witty, and informed throughout by a discreet intelligence and strong personal commitment to the material."--Michael Wood, Charles Barnwell Straut Class of 1923 Professor and Professor of Comparative Literature, Princeton University, author of The Magician's Doubts: Nabokov and the Risks of Fiction



"The contagious spirit of Nabokov himself, a style that is the matter of his masterpiece Lolita, has infected and affected the wise author of this lively new interpretation of the book, which offers an indispensable look at the moral art of the Master."--Donald Harington, author of With

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