Those who had suffered persecution and experienced the death camps for themselves also wrote memoir accounts of what had happened in Germany during Hitler's regime.
He also drew attention to the mindlessness of those who eagerly followed Hitler and hung on his every word. The story suggests that there was more culpability amongst the ordinary man and woman in the street than was suggested in retrospective writings published after the war. I am ready. In Hollywood and New York, however, relationships are frequent between men of forty and girls very little older than Lolita. They marry—to no particular public outrage; rather, public cooing.
Or does it mean that you know your feelings better than others know theirs? Or that you have discovered yourself at other levels? Or simply that your history is unique? NABOKOV I do not recall that article; but if a critic makes such a statement, it must surely mean that he has explored the feelings of literally millions of people, in at least three countries, before reaching his conclusion.
This is an account of how American literature made its mark on the world in strange and unappreciated ways: not through the triumphal denationalization or subnationalization of literary production, but through distinctly international institutions of literary socialization, at home and in the world at large. We are overwhelmingly familiar with the equipment that goes into the making of good readers: close reading, critical reading, depth reading; the canon, the curriculum, the literature seminar.
But what texts and institutional spaces account for the creation of bad readers? To understand how people read in institutions adjacent to literature departments, we must first account for the distinctive types of texts that people read in tandem with literary works. Let me begin, somewhat conservatively, as Nabokov suggests his good reader ought, with a dictionary. Tracking the various and evolving meanings of the term paraliterary—as a genre, a reading practice, and an institutional domain—offers a general framework for understanding the bad reader: from the early 20th century through the s, delegitimated attitudes toward reading literature thrived in institutions oriented to international communication.
These were the conditions under which the RFE urged the reading of memoirs, diaries, biographies, diplomatic studies, bureaucratic archives, and feature reports as primers for engaging with literary texts. The RFE was by no means unique in its invitation to readerly preparation through paraliterary works. But how was this scene of reading organized and what did it hope to accomplish? Paraliterary works were meant to be read as factual, historically accurate narratives.
Rather than an insistence on genre differentiation, here the invitation was to genre confusion. Equally important, however, was that paraliterary reading coalesced as a form of reading capable of producing a self-governing and communicatively adept international subject.
Chief among them was the pressure on ordinary citizens to communicate with one another in the constitution of an internationally minded public sphere. The shift from reading paraliterary works produced by institutions to reading literature more broadly was propelled by a confusion of genres.
So why have these institutions and the readers they tapped for projects of international communication not received their due? It is not for their lack of historical importance. The origins of the idea can be found in interwar discourses of U. The history of U. The standard critical narrative is one of surreptitious coercion and writerly resistance through the production of sophisticated formal allegories for state control. But critiqued by whom and for what audiences?
Who, precisely, was reading and decoding these representations of state power? And what did the knowledge produced by critique set out to accomplish? Rather, it is to realize how a narrowly politicized version of reading and writing critique dominates interpretive practices today.
It is also to realize how profoundly the retrospective projection of these reading practices into the past has limited narratives of the relationship between institutional power and international literary culture.
Select four answers to the question what should a reader be to be a good reader: 1. Between the wolf in the tall grass and the wolf in the tall story there is a shimmering go-between. If, on the other hand, he has merely limited himself to quizzing members of his family or club, his statement cannot be discussed seriously. At the same time, even respected literary writers had to engage in alternative modes of reading: as spies, propagandists, global trend-setters, bureaucrats, revolutionaries. Vladimir Nabokov, Good Readers and Good Writers Questions to consider while reading: The Nabokov piece is a seminal one in our study of reading and writing. The writer is the first man to mop it and to form the natural objects it contains.
Every great writer is a great deceiver, but so is that arch-cheat Nature.
The mind, the brain, the top of the tingling spine, is, or should be, the only instrument used upon a book. That lake between those trees will be called Lake Opal or, more artistically, Dishwater Lake. In order to bask in that magic a wise reader reads the book of genius not with his heart, not so much with his brain, but with his spine.
The reader should prefer a story with action and dialogue to one with none. You might have noticed the absence of paywalls at Boston Review. The reader should have imagination. But critiqued by whom and for what audiences?
How does Nabokov organize his piece? We are overwhelmingly familiar with the equipment that goes into the making of good readers: close reading, critical reading, depth reading; the canon, the curriculum, the literature seminar.
If, on the other hand, he has merely limited himself to quizzing members of his family or club, his statement cannot be discussed seriously. Fiction is fiction. Now we are going one step further to become completely ad-free.
You can tell through his writing how he feels it means to be a good author or a good reader and he eagerly explains it to the readers of his essay. The institutions of literacy cultivation are intriguing not only for the sheer novelty of their political and international conscription of U. This paragraph holds both the reader and author concepts together.
The art of writing is a very futile business if it does not imply first of all the art of seeing the world as the potentiality of fiction. But what I mean is that the reader must know when and where to curb his imagination and this he does by trying to get clear the specific world the author places at his disposal. Wednesday, August 17, Vladimir Nabokov's "Good Readers and Good Writers" - Authority Vladimir Nabokov has a lot of authority in this essay, and he freely expresses his thoughts on the subject. Certainly not.
But at a second, or third, or fourth reading we do, in a sense, behave towards a book as we do towards a painting.