Solid advice from Nabokov


A friend’s father lent me his copy of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lectures on Don Quixote,” and I was surprised in ways I have not been surprised in a very long time. By literary criticism, that is.

Above are the first lines of the intro to the lectures, which are unlike any critical reading I did at college. And, as a Lit major, I did plenty of it. I actually even took a course on “Don Quixote” but don’t remember any required reading as utterly hammock-friendly as this. Granted, I had a lot of fun at college.

Anyway, if anyone out there thinks reading literary criticism sucks, please read this book. I must admit that Nabokov’s reading of the world’s first novel allowed me to viscerally, finally, experience the novel itself, as quixotic as that may sound.

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