Here’s what Nabokov said at the end of his literature-appreciation course:
“In this course I have tried to reveal the mechanism of those wonderful toys — literary masterpieces. I have tried to make of you good readers who read books not for the infantile purpose of identifying oneself with the characters, and not for the adolescent purpose of learning to live, and not for the academic purpose of indulging in generalizations. I have tried to teach you to read books for the sake of their form, their visions, their art. I have tried to teach you to feel a shiver of artistic satisfaction, to share not the emotions of the people in the book but the emotions of its author — the joys and difficulties of creation. We did not talk around books, about books; we went to the center of this or that masterpiece, to the live heart of the matter.”
Is this true? When I heard about Lolita, or more so, its purported story’s theme, I didn’t know that the book was about something else. But I know now. What if I didn’t? Or couldn’t? Would I have dismissed the book as a cheap attempt at erotica that’s not even there? Maybe.
The point is – When I write, I think of a certain type of reader who will get my allusions, and more importantly, whose appreciation hierarchy matches mine. The hope is to create something whose unravelling would thrill a reader – give that shiver of artistic satisfaction. I must also admit that, in retrospect, my posts from the past have given me more cringes than shivers.
Is that you? Not being able to believe that you could’ve written this? You should read some of the other stuff you’ve written.