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“The notion of symbol… has always been abhorrent to me… The symbolism racket in schools… destroys plain intelligence as well as poetical sense. It bleaches the soul. It numbs all capacity to enjoy the fun and enchantment of art… In the case of a certain type of writer it often happens that a whole paragraph or sinuous sentence exists as a discrete organism, with its own imagery, its own invocations its own bloom, and then is it especially precious, and also vulnerable, so that if an outsider, immune to poetry…, injects spurious symbols into it…, its magic is replaced by maggots.” — Vladimir Nabokov, Strong Opinions, 1973
I found this quotation in another work, The Beauty of the Infinite, by David Bentley Hart, which another Ricochet member sent me to aid in my understanding of Orthodoxy. I wish I might have had that quotation readily at hand in more than a few English classes in my schooling years. Both Nabokov and Hart take great issue with the needless dissection of the beauty and flow of language in vain quests to unearth hidden meanings, while ripping the context of the language itself to shreds, and utterly failing to appreciate works on their own (and complete) merits, or on their own beauty and form.