ASSOCIATION : Manifestations – Colloque 2013 – HAMRIT

Colloque International : « Vladimir Nabokov et la France »

Les Chercheurs enchantés : Société Française Vladimir Nabokov

Paris, 30 mai-1er juin 2013



HAMRIT, Jacqueline – Université de Lille III
Sartre, Lacan, Derrida and Nabokov

    In order to explore the relationship between Nabokov and  French thought, I propose to proceed in two parts. In a first part, I would like to study the contents and significance of what two main leading French modern philosophers, such as Sartre and Lacan, wrote on Nabokov’s works. As regards Sartre, I will prolong D. Barton Johnson’s thorough article entitled « The Nabokov-Sartre controversy  » and published in Nabokov Studies (Volume 1, 1994) where he recalls Sartre’s commentary on Despair and Nabokov’s reaction to and dismissal of Sartre. As for Lacan, I will analyse his commentary on Lolita in the document owned by « L’association freudienne internationale » and which corresponds to Lesson 26 (dated June 24, 1959) of the 1958-1959 seminar entitled « Le désir et son interpretation » where Lacan opposes the neurotic structure of Humbert’s desire to the perverse one of Quilty.
    In a second part of the paper, I would like to prolong my reflexions on the relationship between Nabokov and French philosopher Jacques Derrida that I exposed in an article published in 2003 in The Oxford Literary Review where I analysed the epistemological proximity of Derrida’s and Nabokov’srepresentation of reality. Indeed, although Derrida never wrote on Nabokov – though he told me he had read Lolita and was pleased to be associated to Nabokov- , it is possible to resort to deconstruction and a great number of Derrida’s concepts to indulge in a fruitful literary criticism of Nabokov’s works.
    I will conclude by wondering why French thought and French philosophers have been useful in the interpretation of Nabokov’s works. And last but not least, to what extent can Nabokov be considered himself as a thinker?


Jacqueline Hamrit : Professeur agrégée d’anglais à l’Université de Lille 3 depuis 1991, elle enseigne des cours de langue et de langue de spécialité à l’UFR de psychologie, après avoir été chargée de cours de littérature anglo-saxonne pendant treize ans à l’UFR d’anglais. Titulaire d’une thèse sur Vladimir Nabokov, intitulée « Frontières et limites dans l’œuvre de Vladimir Nabokov » et soutenue en décembre 2003 à l’Université de Lille 3, elle s’intéresse aux relations qu’entretiennent entre elles la littérature et la psychologie ainsi que la littérature et la philosophie. C’est ainsi dans le sillage des écrits du philosophe français Jacques Derrida qu’elle étudie l’œuvre de Nabokov.