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Stalking Nabokov$
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Brian Boyd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158572

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158572.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Literature, Pattern, Lolita

Literature, Pattern, Lolita

Or, Art, Literature, Science

(p.320) 23. Literature, Pattern, Lolita
Stalking Nabokov

Brain Boyd

Columbia University Press

This chapter analyzes the patterns we notice in life, art, and science, as well as the difference that some of the patterns concealed within patterns in Lolita can make to our sense of the novel. It also considers the greater importance in art, including storytelling, of attention over meaning—something appreciated by artists and audiences, but not necessarily by academics. Vladimir Nabokov has addressed this in his own inimitable way: “There is nothing wrong about the moonshine of generalization when it comes after the sunny trifles of the book have been lovingly collected.” The chapter takes an evolutionary perspective on literature to understand fully that there was more to Nabokov's statement than a bias and a bon mot. It argues that works of art, with their high intensity of pattern and their fixed form, should provide “ideal controlled replicable experiments for the study of both rapid and gradual pattern recognition in the mind”.

Keywords:   patterns, life, art, science, Lolita, storytelling, Vladimir Nabokov, evolution, literature, pattern recognition

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