NABOKV-L post 0019205, Fri, 22 Jan 2010 21:12:49 -0200

Re: Is Krolik breeding or feeding... Novels about love
Alexey Sklyarenko to CK: Dear Miss Marple, As you know, my reading of Ada is different. I don't read it as a detective novel.
CK to AS: Perhaps you're right to say Ada is not a detective novel. But when reading Nabokov I find it useful to wear a pair of skeptical spectacles. Some game is usually afoot. It behooves the reader to be wary.
AS to CK: [Ada's] most serious crime (committed with the help of an accomplice, Kim Beauharnais, a kitchen boy and photographer at Ardis, who is later blinded by Van) was setting the barn near Ardis Hall on fire.
CK to AS: I forgot to thank you for exposing the origins of the barn fire (I'll take your word for it).

JM: There is more than a detective story level in Ada's pyromancy, as diagnosed by Alexey. There is a kind of "forking time" when, somewhere later in the novel, we find references to this fire being set by two small spectral spectators, probably visible thru Carolyn's "skeptical spectacles" ( I cannot remember well the episode. AS might wish to clarify the burning barn event seen from another perspective in space-time?)

Anthony Stadlen: ...Since Nabokov published Lolita in 1955 and Robbe-Grillet published La Jalousie in 1958, Nabokov is, in 1959, saying unequivocally that La Jalousie is a finer novel about love than Lolita. Unless, of course, Nabokov does not regard Lolita as a novel about love. But, in that film extract available online, Nabokov says, to Trilling, that he agrees with Trilling that Lolita is a book about love...For what it is worth, neither Lolita nor La Jalousie seems to me to have much to do with love, though both have much to do with jealousy. Perhaps Nabokov's comment to Anne Guérin about La Jalousie was as unguarded, as uncarded, and arguably as misguided as his comment to Trilling...

JM: What is a "novel about love"? Pedophilia or bibliophilia indicate a kind of love. Every Nabokov novel, as I see it, are novels about "love" ( "Bend Sinister," in Nabokov's own words somewhere, is about "fatherly love", there are others about "fraternal love", "filial love", "landscape love", "lost love"). While going thry VN&EW letters I came across their exchanges about which writer's lines about "making love" were finest. For Nabokov, Flaubert won with a wide margin over a bunch of select others...

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