Edmund Wilson vs Vladimir Nabokov
Nabokov and Wilson (or Volodya and Bunny, as they called each other in letters during their years-long friendship) fell out over Wilson’s negative review of Nabokov’s translation of Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. Their relationship, already bruised from Wilson’s chilly response to Lolita (“I like it less than anything else of yours I have read,” Wilson had written to Nabokov. “Nasty subjects may make fine books; but I don’t feel you have got away with this… The various goings-on and the climax at the end…become too absurd or horrible to be tragic, yet remain too unpleasant to be funny.”), hit a wall, as Nabokov struck back, writing that Wilson was a “commonsensical, artless, average reader with a natural vocabulary of, say six hundred basic words.” They didn’t speak again for years.
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