Spring 1957 • Vol. XIX No. 2 Book ReviewsApril 1, 1957 |

The Morality of Art

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Two Volumes. Olympia Press, Paris, France. My Poor Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov. Doubleday. $3.50. My Admiration for the writings of Vladimir Nabokov began in college, when I read for the first time The Real Life of Sebastian Knight and thereon determined to spend my own more or less real life in writing Sebastian Knight's novels: The Prismatic Bezel, Success ("the probing of the aetiological secret of aleatory occurrences"), and most of all The Doubtful Asphodel ("A man is dying. . . . The man is the book; the book itself is heaving and dying, and drawing up a ghostly knee"). Of many reasons why I did not carry out this notable project, the best is that Nabokov, who had occupied the field first—immediately after inventing it, in fact—went on to write, if not those books, books very much like them, books about lonely, scholarly heroes a little insane, in situations more than a little absurd, heroes who at the same time "are what can be loosely cal

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