PRESENTATION: Reading Queneau Reading Nabokov

May 31st, 2013 § 0 comments

Abstract: As Jane Grayson has previously discussed in “Nabokov and Perec,” there is little overlap between the Oulipo and Nabokov biographically, although both parties appeared to have appreciated some of the other’s work. It is from a formal perspective that Nabokov and Oulipo authors have the greatest crossover, since both are known for their love and use of word games in their fiction. Rather than suggesting a comparative reading of Oulipian and Nabokovian texts, this paper will explore the possibilities of applying the interpretative possibilities of Oulipo, including Jean Lescure’s “n+7” method to Nabokov’s corpus, to perform what Jerome McGann and Johanna Drucker call a deformative reading. This paper will consider the fruitfulness of such a methodology for reading Nabokov’s texts, acknowledging that such an approach can often lead to creative misreadings rather than strict and rigorous interpretation. This can be off-set, however, by the use of equivalent misreadings in Nabokov’s works, such as Shade’s pivotal misreading in his poem, “Pale Fire.” Through careful negotiation of these tricky issues, I hope to reveal a potential reading of Vladimir Nabokov’s works.

Simon Rowberry. ”Reading Queneau Reading Nabokov.” Vladimir Nabokov and France. May 2013. Université Paris IV-Sorbonne

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