Critique of Nabokov’s Theory

Although Nabokov presents a fascinating theory about how to be a good reader, I believe his theory is too arbitrary. I believe his theory forgets the fact that people read for many different purposes.

Nabokov claims that in order to truly appreciate the characters in a story, a reader should not relate to them. I, however, believe that motive for reading a story may be to find comfort in relating to a character. From the authors perspective, Nabokov fails to recognize that their purpose in writing may be to connect with a specific audience.

Furthermore, while re-reading is important to fully understanding a book, one may re-read simply to enjoy themselves. To enjoy the world of the book another time, not to probe at the authors meaning.

Whether people want to read to understand the authors full purpose, relate and empathize to characters, or to be taken back into a comforting world, they should still be considered good readers.

5 thoughts on “Critique of Nabokov’s Theory

  1. ROHAN W

    I agree with you about the potential desire to connect with a specific audience. While it does take skill to read about something completely out of one’s comfort zone and make it relatable through words, it’s not wrong to build upon one’s own experiences either. Rohan W

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  2. Jhaden J.

    I agree with your critique in that the connection between reader and character is important. Connection to the stories read creates a deeper understanding and possibly even more respect for the author and story because of how it was able to connect. Though letting a piece of work stand on its own is very important, the interpretation of that art is beneficial even to the artist.

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  3. Isaac K.

    I agree with you when you said reading to connect with character or audience is “good reading”. When a reader is connecting with someone in a story that is the writer is doing their job by bringing the reader in and the reader is being a good reader.

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  4. LINA E.

    I agree with you especially towards the ending on how readers should still be considered good readers if they choose to read for fun or even reading for more detail.

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  5. Ben K

    I definitely thought the same thing when reading Nabakov. I think there’s space for a more refined “intellectual” approach when reading, but like you said, literature should be something that can be approached and enjoyed for many different purposes.

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