‘A Tactile Sensation Is a Blind Spot’: Nabokov’s Aesthetics of Touch

  • Lara Delage-Toriel


This study elaborates on the oft-quoted Nabokovian image of the mountaintop embrace between reader and writer to reflect on the way in which the sense of touch affects writing and reading, at once physically, intellectually, and emotionally. It explores the workings of tactility from a gamut of perspectives—philosophical (Merleau-Ponty, Nancy, Serres), neurological (Straus) and psychological (Anzieu)—to show how the written page, like skin, may elicit both active and passive responses on the reader’s part, and how a selection of Nabokov’s texts—a poem, “Voluptates Tactionum,” a short story, “La Veneziana,” a novel, Ada—each in their own way play with these modes of reading. Touch, it is argued, thus serves as an eloquent guide to grasp the specific qualities of Nabokov’s poetic tactics.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lara Delage-Toriel
    • 1
  1. 1.University of StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance

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