Author: David R. Mesher (Tel-Aviv University)
Vague affinities in their fictions and the fact that Thomas Pynchon studied at Cornell under Vladimir Nabokov have led most critics to the general assumption that, as William M. Plater has it, "Without question Pynchon was influenced by Vladimir Nabokov, whom he had as a teacher, but the influence was certainly greater after publication of Nabokov's novels." There may be no question about the fact of that influence, but there also has been almost no questioning about what such influence comprised. Lolita (1955) was first published in the U.S. in 1958, while Pynchon was still at Cornell, and the resultant uproar was certainly enough to attract Pynchon's interest--if, indeed, the undergraduate had not already been attracted by Nabokov's course on Russian writers. But a better case for literary influence than those proposed for either Nabokov's lectures on literature or his Lolita, can be built around Nabokov's first novel in English, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (1941), which was reissued in 1959.
How to Cite: Mesher, D. R. (1982) “Pynchon and Nabokoy's V.”, Pynchon Notes.(8). doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/pn.460