ADVERTISING
 
Sunday, November 18   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Media
Do the media in your country usually portray evangelical Christians accurately?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



René Breuel
 

Does art speak?

No story can move us like the story of the Author entering our plot to give his life for the bliss of his people.

CULTURE MAKING AUTHOR René Breuel 25 AUGUST 2018 18:00 h GMT+1
A scene of the film based in the novel Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov.

Is a postscript to Lolita, a defensive Vladimir Nabokov responds to criticisms leveled at his novel about a man who seduces a 12-year-old girl. He distinguishes his novel from pornographic literature.



He explains why publishers did not want to take the book in America, and did so only after its success in Paris. He asserts that the novel is no defence or critique of perverts, of the American setting where it is located, nor a disclosure of some of his own personal experiences.



Anyhow, the interesting assertion that emerges from those tortured pages is about the nature of art and literature.



For Nabokov, good art is pure art, that is, art which takes no interest in truth or a point of view. A good book of fiction is a story that entertains, and nothing else.



“For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm”.



To defend this ideal, Nabokov is merciless to any kind of literature which attempts the communication of some moral or message: “all the rest is either topical trash or what some call the Literature of Ideas, which very often is topical trash in huge blocks of plaster…”[1]



Nabokov’s assertion here is similar to that of Nietzsche, who defends, in his Will to Power, “the reduction of morality to aesthetics,” and who exclaims “Art and nothing else!”[2]



Nabokov is certainly right about the aesthetic and transformative power of works of fiction. When we enter a story and experience it through the eyes of its characters, we are capable of envisioning the world anew, and we grow in our ability to empathize with other people and points of view.



Our minds and hearts are enriched, and we understand better our own experiences in light of someone else’s story.



Yet to affirm that literature should never attempt to communicate any kind of truth, lest it be topical trash, is to assert that there is no meaningful truth to be conveyed.



If our most elaborate pieces of art – the shiniest gems of emotion and beauty we can produce – shy away from incarnating a message, even at some instances, it is because at bottom we believe there is nothing worth communicating.



We may well be indifferent to the stories of men preying on girls, or to the pornographic literature Nabokov promptly dismisses.



But I think there is a deeper reason why Nabokov is in the wrong here: the stories which afford us the highest levels of aesthetic bliss, the plots and characters which move us deeply, are precisely the stories which interconnect with reality and which convey incarnated truth.



They are the stories which, though talking about matters countless, acknowledge the architecture of benevolence of our universe, the frameworks of good, evil and shady greys which battle for our hearts, the countless moments of courage we need to face the truth about ourselves.



They are the stories which, if we may use biblical language, acknowledge that ours is no ordinary history, no loose succession of events, for our universe has been penetrated, once Truth became flesh, and dwelt among us.



And after that – though we enjoy romantic endings, dreams achieved, and tensions relieved – no story can move us like the story of the Author entering our plot to give his life for the bliss of his people.





 



[1] Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (New York: Penguin, 2006), 359.



[2] Friedrich Nietzsche, Will to Power, quoted in Tzvetan Todorov, La Bellezza Salverà il Mondo: Wilde, Rilke, Cvetaeva [Les Aventuriers de l’absolu] (Milano: Garzanti, 2010), 30.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Does art speak?
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Rallies in Bulgaria: “New bill on religion brings us back to Communism!” Rallies in Bulgaria: “New bill on religion brings us back to Communism!”

Bulgarian evangelicals protested peacefully on November 11 against a draft law which could severely restrict religious freedom of faith minorities. Churches rallied in Sofia and other cities after the Sunday worship services.

 
Photos: #WalkForFreedom Photos: #WalkForFreedom

Abolitionists marched through 400 cities in 51 countries. Pictures from Valencia (Spain), October 20.

 
Photos: Reaching people with disabilities Photos: Reaching people with disabilities

Seminars, an arts exhibition, discussion and testimonies. The European Disability Network met in Tallinn.

 
Photos: Hope for Europe Photos: Hope for Europe

Unity in Diversity is the theme of the conference. Representatives of Evangelical Alliances and many other church leaders gathered in Tallinn (Estonia).

 
VIDEO Video
 
Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement” Biotechnology: “There is a difference between restoration and enhancement”

“We have to understand the times in which we live, and have discernment”, says Doctor Peter J. Saunders.

 
The Manzanas case The Manzanas case

A short documentary about how retired pastors and widows of an evangelical denomination in Spain fight a legal battle for their pensions after the favourable ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

 
‘Mediterráneo’ ‘Mediterráneo’

“Something will change if you have hunger and thirst for justice”, sings Spanish artist Eva Betoret in a song about the refugee crisis.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.