January 26th, 2011 / 11:43 pm

Nabokov on Collaboration

(from the Foreword to Lolita: A Screenplay):

By nature I am no dramatist; I am not even a hack scenarist; but if I had given as much of myself to the stage or the screen as I have to the kind of writing which serves a triumphant life sentence between the covers of a book, I would have advocated and applied a system of total tyranny, directing the play or the picture myself, choosing settings and costumes, terrorizing the actors, mingling with them in the big part of guest, or ghost, prompting them, and, in a word, pervading the entire show with the will and art of one individual–for there is nothing in the world that I loathe more than group activity, that communal bath where the hairy and slippery mix in a multiplication of mediocrity.


  1. deadgod



      a “part” as Hitchcock played.

  2. Tim Horvath

      Collaboration is fun with the right person. Collaborating with Nabokov would have been about as much fun as being Nabokov’s psychoanalyst. Also, I frankly wish that Nabokov had committed himself to more tyrannical dictatorship in the Kubrick “Lolita.” Tangentially, Mozilla wants me to change “Nabokov’s” to “Nabisco’s.” The world is out of joint.

  3. Janey Smith

      As if Nabokov is a cracker. Oh, wait.

  4. alan

      Nabokov’s psychoanalyst would have said what he really wanted was company at bathtime.

  5. NLY

      that cracker is smothered in cheese.

  6. Amber

      I’ve directors like that. They were never fun. Sometimes the play was fucking spectacular because of it. Sometimes, worse than horrible. Oddly, never just okay.

  7. Rev. Matthew Otus Benak

      I’m not sure it’s so odd. Intuitively, it makes sense to me: a brilliant vision is obstructed by no one and a lackluster vision is redeemed by no one in a situation without collaboration. Democratic processes often have a moderating influence. Useful, if say, the wish is for a government to change gradually rather than rapidly (The U.S.’s republicanism accentuates this feature). Not always quite as useful in the process of creating art (of course, it doesn’t necessarily exclude it). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiXjbI3kRus