Alexander pope’s the rape of the lock and vladimir nabokov’s pale fire

Lisa Zunshine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Nabokov did not mince words when it came to Augustan aesthetics. He called the eighteenth century the “most inartistic of centuries,�? the “pedestrian age�? irrevocably tainted by “its pathological dislike for the specific unpoetic detail and its passion for the generic term�? (EO 3: 505, 506). In his annotated translation of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, he regretted that “[for] years, Pushkin, not to speak of the minor poets of his day, could not get rid of these Wounds, Charms, and Ardors, of these clusters of cupids coming from their porcelain beehives in the eighteenth-century West�? (EG 2: 119). The phrase “Wounds, Charms, and Ardors�? has a felicitous ring to it. It brings to mind an effeminate fop in a powdered wig who professes his love with a pretentious lisp and is unceremoniously dismissed by a bored belle-and just as promptly is the whole unworthy and pretentious eighteenth century dismissed from the attention of Nabokov scholars.1.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNabokov at the Limits
Subtitle of host publicationRedrawing Critical Boundaries
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781135658700
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (all)


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