NABOKV-L post 0019073, Wed, 13 Jan 2010 04:57:58 -0200

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[Query] Dr. Philip Wild and Steven Millhouser
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I happened to watch again parts of the movie "The Illusionist" (2006) with its important "disappearing act." It was inspired in a short-story by Steven Millhouser.
I googled his name (he is not widely known in Latin America) and read that:"Millhauser's work is highly literary and his influences are from many sources: Edwin follows Pale Fire and Lolita extremely closely, and Nabokov is everywhere a stylistic influence. Beckett is all over Romantic, and Spenser and Shakespeare everywhere in Morpheus. Millhauser's stories abound with influences, and part of the joy (or annoyance) of reading him is the extent to which his writing is very much a commentary on other fiction....The collective of things - which are likely to grow bigger and gigantic and more absurd, as in insane department stores or grotesque hotels or malls - can suddenly vanish; or the focus will suddenly and maniacally change to the hugely specific, which often can be hideous... a character might turn to ink and fade away. Millhauser is prized for his supposedly postmodern sensibility, but he is probably most popular because of the very Romantic and uncanny effects he can achieve in his stories. (This shouldn't be confused with magical realism, which is more nature-derived than literary.)"
Millhouser had not read "TOoL" when he wrote most of the works that made him famous, including "Eisenheim, the Illusionist." I wonder if there are any published essays about this author in connection to Nabokov.

Until quite recently I read the Dr.Wild part of TOoL as dealing mainly with death, illness and VN's fascination with endorphines (and "encephalin") to have him, like the Kings explored by Dave Haan in a recent posting, "fade away." I wonder, now, if VN's intention, should he have been able to finish his novel, was not mainly related to conjuring acts (H.H.Hubert performed magic tricks in an amateurish way), instead of pursuing the flimsy neurological link that has been present since the first page.


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