This chapter analyzes Vladimir Nabokov's sense of humor as it relates to his work. Nabokov stressed that we should remember that the difference between the comic and the cosmic depends on just one little sibilant. In novels such as Solus Rex, The Gift, Pale Fire, Ada, and Speak, Memory, Nabokov's humor is evident. Laughter, Nabokov suggests, is “something let loose in our world that bespeaks a much richer but inarticulate truth about things than our little understandings can have within this world.” Nabokov wanted to be funny at every level, and in every way. What Nabokov tried for in his own fiction was to mingle laughter and its opposites: humor and horror, laughter and loss. He insisted that “genuine art mixes categories.” He also tried to find as many different kinds of humor as possible, some fast, some slow-release, some local, some global, some verbal, some situational, some sympathetic, some barbed. Nabokov offers humor at every level from the pun to the allusion, character, situation, structure, and social satire.
Columbia Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .