Lectures on Literature

Lectures on Literature

Book - 1980
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For two decades, first at Wellesley and then at Cornell, Nabokov introduced undergraduates to the delights of great fiction. Here, collected for the first time, are his famous lectures, which include Mansfield Park, Bleak House, and Ulysses. Edited and with a Foreword by Fredson Bowers; Introduction by John Updike; illustrations.
Publisher: New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich ; [Columbia, S.C.] : B. Clark, 1980.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780151495979
Branch Call Number: 809.3/NAB CE
Characteristics: xxvii, 385 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Additional Contributors: Bowers, Fredson


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his book on Russian authors is better. Not sure why, perhaps because he was Russian, or because I like the Russians better, but I am sure it is so. both books draw from his lectures while teaching literature at Cornell University. what a teacher he must have been! the authors covered here include Stevenson, Austen, Dickens. He picks one novel by each author. For RLS, it was JEKYLL AND HYDE. For Dickens, it was BLEAK HOUSE. He analyzes entertainingly, indeed. But the Russian book has Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov, as well as Gogol. "The number three plays a considerable role in the story. It is divided into three parts. There are three doors to Gregor's room. His family is three. There are three servants. Three lodgers have three beards. Three Samsas write three letters...there are artistic symbols ant there are trite, artificial, and even imbecile symbols. You will find a number of such inept symbols in the psychoanalytic and mythological approach to Kafka's work, in the fashionable mixture of sex and myth that is so appealing to mediocre minds. The abstract symbolic value of an artistic achievement should never prevail over its beautiful burning life." "Triptych means a picture or carving in three compartments side by side, and this is exactly the effect that Kafka achieves, for instance, with his three rooms in the beginning of the story--living room, Gregor's bedroom, and sister's room, with Gregor in the central one. Kafka's fantasy is emphatically logical; what can be more characteristic of logic than the triad of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis."

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