Asaf Bartov (ijon) wrote,
Asaf Bartov
ijon

  • Mood:
  • Music:

Beat like a drum?

I've finally run out of excuses and am reading Lolita now. The prose is delectable; indeed, it is rich and mellifluous, and quite bewitching. Humbert Humbert, like his creator, is a hyper-cultured European intellectual, interested in obscure French verse (as is Nabokov, judging by the Ronsard poem he quotes), and possessed of a refined vocabulary and an elegant style. And yet, Nabokov sees fit to use the hackneyed simile "My heart beat like a drum..." (in Humbert's quoted diary, of his first days at the Haze household, if you want to look it up) in Humbert's self-describing prose.

Everything I've heard of and read about Vladimir Nabokov suggests that he was decidedly elitistic, abhorred clichés, and merrily stung other writers' styles. His prose is so polished that I find it hard to believe that it is merely a slip of the pen. Is it perfume from a dress that made him so transgress? (pardon me) What do you think? If, as I think, this is used on purpose, how do you explain Nabokov's choice of words here?
Subscribe

  • Shah of Shahs / Ryszard Kapuściński

    Exactly 38 years ago, Khomeini returned to Iran from his exile in France, and set in motion the Islamic Revolution of Iran. A little over a year…

  • On Immigrants

    Speaking of immigrants, Sir Ian McKellen would like to offer this passage, from the Elizabethan play Sir Thomas More: GEORGE. Marry, the removing…

  • Goodreads is fun; Dickens; Mortimer

    I've been pretty indifferent to most of the recent social-network sites, but I'm really enjoying goodreads.com. I'm a pretty busy reader, with a…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 6 comments