NABOKV-L post 0019115, Sun, 17 Jan 2010 12:20:59 -0200

Re: CORRECTION about Webster's Second, more on "stang"
Re: [NABOKV-L] CORRECTION about Webster's Second, more on "stang"Stan Kelly-Bootle (to Jim Twiggs - As for the egregious grammatical error in that same posting, I am properly embarrassed.
The more I think about the word "stang" in Shade's poem, the odder it seems as the word of choice, in that context, for either Shade or VN):I'm still pondering your dislike of stang in the PF context. My judgment is coloured by the view (unpopular with many Nabokovians) that Shade is a lousy poet, presented as such via brilliantly-balanced but mean-low-down parody by VN. Speaking of non-standard (but never egregiously bad) grammar: the impeccable JANSY used the construction 'should of' or 'would of' when the rules prefer 'should have' and 'would have.' I only mention it because it aroused some debate on another list I infest. Even on the BBC one hears the next stage in the DEATH of GOODER English: 'I shudder [shudda] been more careful.'

JM: Impeccable Who? You mustof catmus tangents too mean.
About punning and a dislike for specific words, I'll now quote E.W to VN (Nov 12,1940): "do please refrain from puns, to which I see you have a slight propensity. They are pretty much excluded from serious jornalism here. Also the expression "I for one" is not precisely in the tone of reviewing."
VN's Dukhobor review (Dec.15) is quoted by the editor to ellucidate a reference in its last paragraph:
" It is always rather perilous for a writer to try to toy with a foreign idiom. I like to recall the case of the famous Russian writer Herzen who, living in Putney and knowing very little English, illustrated a brilliant essay on the Britisher's innate contempt for poverty by the unfortunate remark that the worst invective commonly heard in London was the word 'beggar'."
An admiring Bunny later wrote, in Oct.20,1941: "It's amazing that you should write such fine English prose and not sound like any other English writer, but be able to do your own kind of thing so subtly and completely. You and Conrad must be the only examples of foreigners succeeding in English in this field."
Unrelentingly, he added: ..."I fear you have been led by your lamentable weakness for punning...they introduce irrelevant ideas. You were right in thinking I should object to 'smuggled smugness,' though in other cases your sensitivity to words provides you with some admirable observations and effects. I agree about the word 'sex' - it is an awful word." (indicating RLSK's 'ks,ks' catcall' comment) .
As a 'conradically' untalented foreigner, I've sometimes suffered an Englishers's (or I should of said Englisherrs'?) cruel tongue.

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