Colloque International : « Vladimir Nabokov et la France »
Les Chercheurs enchantés : Société Française Vladimir Nabokov
Paris, 30 mai-1er juin 2013
WOOD, Michael – Princeton University, USA
‘Do you mind cutting out the French: Nabokov’s disinvention of Europe’.
Nabokov said it had taken him ‘some forty years to invent Russia and Western Europe’. The chief sense of ‘invent’ in this context is ‘recreate’, compose worlds that are both imaginary and real, like Balzac’s Paris and Dickens’ London. But Nabokov’s phrase has another, more polemical sense: he has replaced the received ideas of others with constructions of his own, devised and denied the cultures and histories he needs for his work. This lecture seeks to explore one of these constructions, which we might think of as the France of Pierre Delalande.
Michael Wood is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Princeton University. He is the author of The Magician’s Doubts and many essays on Nabokov. His most recent literary book is Yeats and Violence.