Novel of the Century

Attached is a link to an article arguing that Pale Fire is the best novel of the 20th century and one that suggests Pale Fire is in the midst of a cultural resurgence.

In the view of Ron Rosenbaum, the author of the first piece, what makes Pale Fire so brilliant is its communication with Shakespeare, specifically Hamlet, and its singular achievement of Shakespearean complexity. The second article notes Pale Fire’s presence in two recent movies, Blade Runner 2049 and Unsane.

A meta-arc concerning reflection appears to be running through both these pieces. While “The Novel of the Century” is preoccupied with Pale Fire‘s reflection of the foremost author in the English language, the Boston Globe article notes the novel’s reverberating reflections through contemporary culture.

Could Pale Fire be thought to function as a timeless reflector or mirror of literary history? If so, does it deserve to be termed the best novel possibly not just of the twentieth century, but of recent history, despite the subjectivity and arbitrariness necessarily associated with such distinctions?

The Novel of the Century: Nabokov’s Pale Fire


One thought on “Novel of the Century

  1. I was just remarking the last week to Professor Dwyer about a secondary allusion to Pale Fire in Shakespeare, being the words of the ghost in Hamlet. Seems the author of the one article really developed a lot from it, in his interpretation of the novel.

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