Monday, September 28, 2009

Brilliant cover. Anyone else insanely excited for this? A Wall Street Journal article about dead writers and which also profiled DFW's the Pale King gave a nice concise history of this one.

For decades, Dmitri Nabokov kept the manuscript locked in a Swiss bank vault, allowing only a select group of Nabokov scholars to read it, and occasionally suggesting in interviews that he would destroy the novel. In 2008, more than 30 years after his father's death, he announced to a German magazine his decision to publish the work, saying that his father had appeared to him in a vision and told him to "go ahead and publish."

"The opening few words just blew me away," said Mr. Boyd, who is also editing three other collections of Mr. Nabokov's work, including previously unpublished letters to his wife. "There's a kind of narrative device that he's never used before and that I don't think anybody else has ever used before."
So that's something to keep on the happy list. Slate's Ron Rosenbaum also put a piece about the book up today -- you can read that, if you want to give yourself a nice acute headache between the eyes. Apparently it will be published as facsimiles of the notecards, and perforated index cards that can be torn out and shuffled, since the original order, at least in the latter half, was lost anyway.

I haven't read Ada or Ardor yet -- it's been watching me from the bookshelf for about a year now -- nor Pale Fire -- but after Lolita and especially The Gift, felt like I knew Nabby well enough, to, well, start calling him Nabby.

Also, this is just plain awesome. A new edition of Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome with a cover by Jeffrey Brown.

P.s., this blog led me to these images:

Other news in the literary realm:
-Perhaps with the onset of winter I'll be spending more time at the computer and make this blog live again.
-Just read an article on Usyless
-- absolutely boring and pointless and typical, paraphrase: ulysses, Declan Kiberd proposes in Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce's Masterpiece (W.W. Norton, September), , should be read by the common people! What a fascinating and novel argument -- its about humanism and how great the common life in the street is -- so it follows that we should devote our energies to shoving it down the throats of the working class. Ha, ha. Those who know me know my perspectives on the class issue. Wait, no you don't -- I don't know them myself. But let me comment that Joyce knew how hard his book was to read and I don't think he'd force it on any unwilling reader -- books are meant to attract people, not be forced on them. And if the non-intellectual can't read it, then that's just a fact of life -- as Stephen says about the English soldier in Nighttown, "He thinks he knows me. Doesn't even know his own mind."

But actually this review suddenly and shockingly gets good when the writer steps in to prove he has quite the brain -- in his very last line, of all places!
Disguised as praise, books that offer practical uses for literary classics are in fact acts of iconoclastic arrogance. Proclaiming their fealty to the ordinary, they are driven by impatience with—even contempt for—the actual experience of reading extraordinary works.
Cheers, Steven Kellman.

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