I never see a butterfly without thinking of Nabokov.
I have been reading Lolita continuously for about twenty years. The story has long ceased to amuse me but the poetry rolls through my thoughts in an endless spiral. There are only three novels of Nabokov I truly enjoy – Lolita, Ada and Pale Fire. King Queen and Knave. Four novels of Nabokov …. I don’t like his semi-political tomes.
One of the conclusions I have been forced to accept in my study of Shakespeare is that his stories are less impressive than his poetry. The stories are all flawed in a way that his poetics are not. It leads me to wonder if that is an acceptable approach to literature. Can we sacrifice story to the manner of its telling? Should we accept a weak story in favor of glorious verbage?
One thing is certain – the reverse is not true. I don’t care how delightful a story is. I don’t care if the drama takes me on a wonderful, emotional ride from crisis to resolution. I don’t even care if there is a story. Poetics are key. I would rather experience a beautiful phrase than a meaningful expression.
Like a butterfly.