NABOKV-L post 0019316, Wed, 3 Feb 2010 08:54:04 -0200

Subject
Re: uncle Ruka, L-words
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A. Sklyarenko: "I hope someone with better English than mine will translate this passage for you, if it doesn't exist in English (in Conclusive Evidence). The word шулер is implicitly present in Ada ("I have often wondered why the Russian for it... is the same as the German for 'schoolboy' minus the umlaut..." 1.28). As you know, German for 'schoolboy' is Schüler."

JM: Great Hevans, Alexey... You've mizzled me now in pluncketty shoes and arms. I hope there's a volunteer to translate the passage you indicate, for Wiki informs me that "Speak,Memory", originally written in English, is an imperfect "version" of the Russian...*

Peter Lubin mentioned Viktor Shklovskij's coinage of "ostranenie" or "making strange," in Zemblan "Kickshaws and Motley." He added, in the same vane: "A pun makes strange, and so does a paragram, or even a slip or a lipograph, as guests at a certain literary dinner have reason to know. What doesn't make strange, estrange, strangify a book, if the author is a genuine artist? No, leave those terms alone. Avoid textbook truth. A fine nib and a nimble wit--that's what you want."**


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* - "Nabokov himself translated into Russian two books that he had originally written in English, Conclusive Evidence, and Lolita. The first "translation" was made because of Nabokov's feeling of imperfection in the English version. Writing the book, he noted that he needed to translate his own memories into English, and to spend a lot of time explaining things which are well-known in Russia; then he decided to re-write the book once again, in his first native language, and after that he made the final version, Speak, Memory (Nabokov first wanted to name it "Speak, Mnemosyne")."
** - I quote him...but this doesn't mean that I understood a word! No "fine nib and nimble wits," in my case.

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