Une « démocratie magique » : politique et littérature dans les romans de Vladimir Nabokov

Abstract : Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), American writer of Russian origin, was the author of fiction written first in Russian and then in American English. His work has been a constant source of fascination for his readers, but their interpretation has been limited by its reception. Upon the publication of Lolita (1955), Nabokov is seen as a precursor of American postmodernism. His writings are interpreted as the climax of the modernist quest for artistic autonomy and a triumph of autotelic creation, and a poetic of “tyranny” is identified in his work, with the author reigning supreme as an “absolute dictator.”However, Nabokov had never ceased to be preoccupied with two political issues in 20th century History, which he continuously denounced in his writings: the issue of the submission of art to any kind of ideology and that of tyranny illustrated by the Nazi and Soviet political regimes. From the very beginning of his career, in his Russian texts and later in his American texts, Nabokov’s work examines the consequences of the Bolshevik Revolution, seen as the historical event that changes the “distribution of the sensible” (J. Rancière) in the 20th century. The autotelic nature of his work, whose features should be defined in opposition to aesthetic forms that celebrate the commitment of art, actually indicates that Nabokov defines a new “politics of literature” (J. Rancière) based on emancipation, which Nabokov calls “a magic democracy” and considers to be a “critical art” whose aesthetic effect is predicated on its distance, thus including “in the form of the work the confrontation between what the world is and what the world may become” (J. Rancière).
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Agnès Edel-Roy. Une « démocratie magique » : politique et littérature dans les romans de Vladimir Nabokov. Littératures. Université Paris-Est, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018PESC0080⟩. ⟨tel-02270697⟩

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