Books: Long Shadow

LECTURES ON DON QUIXOTE by Vladimir Nabokov; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 219 pages; $17.95

Master of nuance, connoisseur of transparent things, Vladimir Nabokov disliked the blunt instruments of art. "I remember with delight," he liked to say, "tearing apart Don Quixote, a cruel and crude old book, before six hundred students . . ." Yet he lectured on the book at Harvard, partly because it was required reading but also because it struck some chord in the speaker. The lectures, reconstructed by Editor Fredson Bowers, disclose reasons for that resonance.

As Nabokov acknowledges, Don Quixote the novel may be flawed, but...

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