Juanita Dark (juanita_dark) wrote in lo_philes,
Juanita Dark
juanita_dark
lo_philes

Yale Lectures

Today I was prowling youtube, and I found three lectures on Lolita, which were part of a course called The American Novel Since 1945 (ENGL 291), taught by Professor Amy Hungerford at Yale.

They're all around 40-50 minutes long, and I've just watched the first one. The way Professor Hungerford reads from the book is really bland (and it makes me sad), but you can tell she loves discussing the book. She has great insights so far.



She gets to Lolita after a couple of minutes into the first lecture, and then asks the students a series of questions that you'd probably be best to skip, because you can't hear their answers. From the description: "Professor Amy Hungerford introduces the first of three lectures on Nabokov's Lolita by surveying students' reactions to the novel, highlighting the conflicting emotions readers feel, enjoying Nabokov's virtuosic style, but being repelled by the violence of his subject matter. Nabokov's childhood in tsarist Russia provides some foundation for his interest in memory, imagination, and language. Finally, Professor Hungerford shows how Nabokov, through the voice of his protagonist Humbert, in his own voice in the epilogue, and in the voice of "John Ray, Jr." in the foreword, preempts moral judgments in a novel that celebrates the power of the imagination and the seductive thrill of language."



The second one is a guest lecture by Andrew Goldstone. From the description: "In this guest lecture, Teaching Fellow Andrew Goldstone provides us with some key concepts for understanding Modernism and Nabokov's relation in particular to his literary forebears T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Marcel Proust. Positing the "knight's move" as a description of Nabokov's characteristically indirect, evasive style, Goldstone argues that Nabokov's parodies of Modernist form in fact reveal his deep commitment to some of the same aesthetic principles. While the knight's move often indicates a playful attitude towards tradition, it also betrays a traumatic rupture with the past, reflecting a sense of exile that links Nabokov's art with the violence of Lolita's protagonist, Humbert."



The description for the final lecture: "In the last of three lectures on Lolita, Professor Amy Hungerford discusses the broader context of Nabokov's relation to his novel: both the debate it inspires surrounding censorship and artistic originality, and the concern it evokes in him about the work of art's distillation of the living world or word. Hungerford masterfully draws connections between Nabokov's interest in lepidoptery--butterfly collecting--with his evident fear that the printed word become lapidary, or stone-like. Just as we can no longer appreciate the beauty of a butterfly's motion, once it has been pinned down, so too might living language fall victim to a kind of violence on the page, a formal equivalent to the thematic violence that increases as the novel progresses."



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