Oh my, what a slacker I’ve been. This week’s quotation comes from the famous critic, translator, and writer Vladimir Nabokov (author of Lolita):
“Of all the characters that a great artist creates, his readers are the best.”
I had to read one of Nabokov’s critical essay on Russian literature for my course and this sentence really stuck out to me. Nabokov seems to imply that an author has a power of creation over the readers, that he participates in the building of one’s identity.
Although Nabokov can be very controversial at times, I completely agree with this statement. A book can definitely mould who you are and who you’ll become by confronting you with a different reality than yours. Literature opens your eyes to what’s out there and allows you to build your identity within a larger context than your regular environment. While reading, you can identify with various characters and themes that will remain a part of you for the rest of your life and have an influence on your actions. Reading is not passive; it’s an active decision to change your life.
Moreover, certain authors create communities around their works. There is a real culture surrounding certain writers. The firsts that come to my mind are Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and John Green but there are many more. Authors are able to influence interactions between readers. Fiction therefore impacts reality, and readers become the living testimonies of the power of a book. Nabokov calls readers the best characters an author creates because they bring fiction into their reality.
Ps: Check out my last post on my favourite covers! Link