Lectures on Don Quixote

by Vladimir Nabokov

Other authorsGuy Davenport (Preface), Fredson Bowers (Editor)
Hardcover, 1983

Status

Available

Publication

San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich : Bruccoli Clark, c1983.

Media reviews

New York Review of Books
Without his habit of thorough preparation, his dash, his delight in mischief, prejudice, and the cheerfully perverse, Vladimir Nabokov’s lectures would have been no more than pepper and salt. He was an extraordinary preparer. When he came to deliver his course on Don Quixote at Harvard in 1951 —2 he had, for example, gone to the length of writing a summary of the events in this enormous novel, chapter by chapter, so making an invaluable crib... What is Nabokov’s final judgment? That the book is more important in its eccentric diffusion than in its own intrinsic value. Sancho is a bore, his proverbs lose their piquancy in English, but he is most interesting when he himself catches the infection of enchantment. The Don, on the other hand, undergoes a multiplication. He is enlarged by the ingenuity and subtlety of his madness. He embodies the mystery of reality and illusion. He is courageous to a degree.

User reviews

LibraryThing member jasonlf
A good accompaniment to Don Quixote, marred only by Nabokov's less-than-complete love for the novel. It is six lectures he gave at Harvard that ranges from more conventional discussion to more novel presentations, like a scorecard that goes through the 40 "battles" in the book, classifies them into different types, and calls each one a win or a loss. Turns out the final score was 20-20.

Nabokov might be right that the novel would have been even better if Don Quixote's final combat was with the false Don Quixote from the false Part Two that wasn't written by Cervantes. Oh well.
… (more)
LibraryThing member nosajeel
A good accompaniment to Don Quixote, marred only by Nabokov's less-than-complete love for the novel. It is six lectures he gave at Harvard that ranges from more conventional discussion to more novel presentations, like a scorecard that goes through the 40 "battles" in the book, classifies them into different types, and calls each one a win or a loss. Turns out the final score was 20-20.

Nabokov might be right that the novel would have been even better if Don Quixote's final combat was with the false Don Quixote from the false Part Two that wasn't written by Cervantes. Oh well.
… (more)

Language

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5760
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