Nabokov's influence on me is hard for me to pin down and express accurately in a few words.
VN showed me how a creative mind could so radically succeed at reaching his own artistic satisfaction armed with a conviction of the necessity of his own happiness (and also armed, luckily, with a dazzling facility with words). I understand that a similar level of talent and work probably goes into works of architecture, or music, or entrepreneurship, philosophy, or engineering, but the genius behind these accomplishments was less readily apparent—to me anyways—than it was in VN’s writing.
I’m trying to better express why this was important to me. Hm. Think about the phrase ‘radical success.’ Success of what sort? What happens when it’s writ large or radical? Rand introduced me to the heights that should theoretically be possible (but which frankly I seldom beheld in her fiction; the artistic level of the prose was just not as satisfying for me as I thought it could have been), and VN was the Exhibit A that proved her wildly correct.
If I may brag a little further, Nabokov would likely have been a friend to Objectivist ideas. Classically liberal, fiercely independent of mind, indifferent to criticasters, an enemy of tyranny (and a Russian émigré). Interestingly, VN would have bristled at such categorizations; he was denunciative of a reliance on easy, pedestrian, ‘grand’ ideas and the literature of social intent. This obvious tension with Rand, while embodying many of the virtues she prized most, I think provides the most interesting counterpoint between two thinkers’ ideas I’ve ever encountered.
Yes, the book is better than the movie. I don’t get why because I think VN helped write the screenplay. Also keep in mind that your estimation of Nabokov could differ wildly from mine. And the language with which I’ve been describing my feelings do not necessarily describe the books; they can actually be rather recherché and arcane. One of my best friends didn’t like Lolita. I know others who do, and they’re often leftists and not hard reasoners….
I actually check SL more often than RoR!
(demonstrating that that first sentence is so true,)