Prof. Dr. Tom Whalen (Bamberg): "And So the Password Is—?":  Vladimir Nabokov and the Ethics of Rereading

Tuesday, 29.10.2013

Built into the narrative texture of many of Nabokov’s stories and novels is the necessity to reread them. And yet despite his own well-documented statements about the relationship of ethics to art, we still encounter critics who see Nabokov’s work as merely “a sensuous exercise in style” (Dickstein). Dr. Whalen’s lecture offered a counter to this persistent misreading.

Dr. Tom Whalen — guest professor of American Studies at Bamberg University at the time of the lecture — is a novelist, short story writer, poet and critic who has written for Agni, Bookforum, Film Quarterly, The Iowa Review, The Southern Review, the Washington Post and other publications.  His work, as The Review of Contemporary Fiction has said, “is thickly lyrical and meditative, interrogating the relation of language to things, of books to life.” Whalen’s recent books include the novel The President in Her Towers (Ellipsis, 2013), The Birth of Death and Other Comedies: The Novels of Russell H. Greenan (Dalkey Archive, 2011) and Dolls: Prose Poems (Caketrain, 2007). Hotel Ortolan, with photographs by Michel Varisco, will appear later in 2014 from Black Scat Books.