“Annotating vs. Interpreting Nabokov: The Author as a Helper or a Screen?”
The debate about annotating vs. interpreting turns around the problem of the over determination of the text and the kind of contribution the reader can, may or must bring to it. Barthes and Foucault, while proclaiming the death of the author, clearly favored interpretation. Henry James, in “The Figure in the Carpet”;, intimated that the author continues to inhabit his work of fiction as a figure, and to hold sway over his reader. Nabokov held such “strong opinions”; in his interviews that his best readers have devoted most of their time and energy to annotate his works, being afraid that any interpretation might run counter to the author’s “intention”;. This paper tries to lay some of the theoretical foundations necessary to understand this difficult question.
Published : 2008-03-20