Blog Archive This is a very subjective question, so there cannot be a single, authoritative answer.
A hundred years ago, Flaubert in a letter to his mistress made the following remark: There is nothing wrong about the moonshine of generalization when it comes after the sunny trifles of the book have been lovingly collected. If one begins with a ready-made generalization, one begins at the wrong end and travels away from the book before one has started to understand it.
Nothing is more boring or more unfair to the author than starting to read, say, Madame Bovary, with the Good readers and good writers by nabokov notion that it is a denunciation of the bourgeoisie.
We should always remember that the work of art is invariably the creation of a new world, so that the first thing we should do is to study that new world as closely as possible, approaching it as something brand new, having no obvious connection with the worlds we already know.
When this new world has been closely studied, then and only then let us examine its links with other worlds, other branches of knowledge. Can we expect to glean information about places and times from a novel? Can anybody be so naive as to think he or she can learn anything about the past from those buxom best-sellers that are hawked around by book clubs under the heading of historical novels?
But what about the masterpieces? And Bleak House, that fantastic romance within a fantastic London, can we call it a study of London a hundred years ago? And the same holds for other such novels in this series.
The truth is that great novels are great fairy tales — and the novels in this series are supreme fairy tales. Time and space, the colors of the seasons, the movements of muscles and minds, all these are for writers of genius as far as we can guess and I trust we guess right, not traditional notions which may be borrowed from the circulating library of public truths but a series of unique surprises which master artists have learned to express in their own unique way.
To minor authors is left the ornamentation of the commonplace: The various combinations these minor authors are able to produce within these set limits may be quite amusing in a mild ephemeral way because minor readers like to recognize their own ideas in a pleasing disguise.
The art of writing is a very futile business if it does not imply first of the art of seeing the world as the potentiality of fiction. The material of this world may be real enough as far as reality goes but does not exist at all as an accepted entirety: It is now recombined in its very atoms, not merely in its visible and superficial parts.
The writer is the first man to map it and it name the natural objects it contains. Those berries there are edible. That speckled creature that bolted across my path might be tamed. That lake between those trees will be called Lake Opal or, more artistically, Dishwasher Lake.
That mist is a mountain — and that mountain must be conquered. Up a trackless slope climbs the master artist, and at the top, on a windy ridge, whom do you think he meets?
The panting and happy reader, and there they spontaneously embrace and linked forever if the book lasts forever. One evening at a remote provincial college through which I happened to be jogging on a protracted lecture tour, I suggested a little quiz — ten definitions of a reader, and from these ten the students had to choose four definitions that would combine to make a good reader.
I have mislaid the list, but as far as I remember the definitions went something like this. Select four answers to the question what should a reader be to be a good reader: The reader should belong to a book club.
The reader should identify himself or herself with the hero or heroine.
The reader should concentrate on the social economic angle. The reader should prefer a story with action and dialogue to one with none. The reader should have seen the book in a movie.
The reader should be a budding author. The reader should have imagination. The reader should have memory. The reader should have a dictionary. The reader should have some artistic sense. The students heavily leaned on emotional identification, action, and the socio-economic or historical angle.
Of course, as you have guessed, the good reader is one who has imagination, memory, a dictionary, and some artistic sense — which sense I propose to develop in myself and in others whenever I have the chance.
Incidentally, I use the word reader very loosely. Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader.
And I shall tell you why.A good reader will ask themselves questions as they read along, using sticky notes for that section. This technique allows the readers to come back to the questions and answer them after reader more of .
Vladimir Nabokov, Good Readers and Good Writers. Questions to consider while reading: The Nabokov piece is a seminal one in our study of reading and writing.
You will come back to it again and again over the course of the year. Read it first to get an overall impression of its argument; then, read it with the following questions in mind. As you notice in this essay, Vladimir Nabokov main point is, to become a good reader's and good writers, one must have certain skills.
To be a good reader's and good writer, one should have a good memory, imagination, a dictionary, and some artistic sense.4/4(2). A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader.
And I shall tell you why. When we read a book for the first time the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time.
Sep 10, · Vladimir Nabokov talks about how to be effective readers and convincing writers in his essay “Good readers and good writers.” In order to capture all the ideas and messages from the writers, readers should pay close attention to details, reread the book for a several times and find out its meaning, and create a connection with the writer which is enough to understand and enjoy the writer.
My course, among other things, is a kind of detective investigation of the mystery of literary structures The following is Nabokov's introduction to his Lectures on Literature, a series of lectures he gave covering Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, Charles Dickens' Bleak House, Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Robert Luis Stevenson's "The Strange Case.