Vladimir Nabakov: “the symbolism racket in schools”

“The notion of symbol…has always been abhorrent to me…The symbolism racket in schools…destroys plain intelligence as well as poetic sense. It bleaches the soul. It numbs all the capacity to enjoy the fun and enchantment of art…In the case of a certain type of writer it often happens that a whole paragraph or sinuous sentence exists as a discrete organism, with its own imagery, its own invocations, its own bloom, and then it is especially precious, and also vulnerable, so that if an outsider, immune to poetry….injects spurious symbols into it…its magic is replaced by maggots.”

Nabakov, Strong Opinions, pgs 304-5, as assembled by Hart, The Beauty of the Infinite, footnote, p. 25, where Hart adds “…God is a ‘certain type of writer’.

see also Charles Williams here

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