NABOKV-L post 0019318, Wed, 3 Feb 2010 13:56:18 -0200

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[NABOKOV-L] Conradical boules in English and Russian
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Dear List,

Trying to recover a sentence about Conrad, I'd just read, in a new context, I found curious items in the internet (see*). The sentence I'd been looking for is: "Nabokov's first writings were in Russian, but he came to his greatest distinction in the English language. For this achievement, he has been compared with Joseph Conrad; yet Nabokov viewed this as a dubious comparison, as Conrad composed in French and English."**
After reading Sklyarenko's copious links bt. ADA and LATH to Russian authors (plus fenomenal poetical and political allusions), which only those who are studious of Russian Lit.(up to the XXth Century) might identify, I felt very uneasy.

I believe in Nabokov's assertion that Art is his passport. However now I see we must also take into account what it means to be described as one of the greatest "American writers and stylists," when we learn that "Speak,Memory/Conclusive Evidence" is an (original) "English version", with inaccessible passages for those who only speak English - no Russian.
I remember another puzzling sentence about English as his "second native tongue," when it is now clear that he never abandoned the plexed "organic form" (Coleridge?) of the Russian.
Perhaps ( quite probably!) I got this all wrong. My concept about "languages", right now, is totally bouleversé*** by the Nabokovian Wonderland.

Jansy


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* 1. LOL - Literatures in Other Languages - A blog by Isagani R. Cruz. Dedicated to Old King Cole, who first suggested a blog devoted to literary works written or read in languages other than the mother tongue/s of the author/s.(04 January 2009)
Shipwrights & Conrad-Nabokov Prize
If you write in English as a second language and you live in a "non-Anglophone" territory, you can compete for the Conrad-Nabokov Prize, offered by Shipwrights magazine. This is how the magazine describes itself: "Shipwrights is the online magazine of de-centered English: a review of new writing from beyond the Anglosphere. The magazine's goal is to publish the best new short fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction coming out of the global second- and foreign-language English writing communities."

2.Asher Z. Milbauer TRANSCENDING EXILE :Conrad Nabokov I.B. Singer
University Presses of Florida
Questia Media America, Inc. www.questia.com

** - Wiki: Of its fifteen Berlin years, Dieter Zimmer wrote: "He never became fond of Berlin and at the end intensely disliked it. He lived within the lively Russian community of Berlin that was more or less self-sufficient, staying on after it had disintegrated because he had nowhere else to go to. He had little German. He knew few Germans except for landladies, shopkeepers, the petty immigration officials at the police headquarters."...Nabokov's first writings were in Russian, but he came to his greatest distinction in the English language. For this achievement, he has been compared with Joseph Conrad; yet Nabokov viewed this as a dubious comparison, as Conrad composed in French and English. Nabokov disdained the comparison for aethetic reasons, lamenting to the critic Edmund Wilson, "I am too old to change Conradically" - which John Updike later called, "itself a jest of genius." [ This lament came in 1941, with Nabokov an apprentice American for less than one year...Later in the Wilson letters, Nabokov offers a solid, non-comic appraisal: "Conrad knew how to handle readymade English better than I; but I know better the other kind. He never sinks to the depths of my solecisms, but neither does he scale my verbal peaks." This is in November 1950, p. 282.]

***. Cf. ADA: "the violent dance called kurva or 'ribbon boule' in the hilarious program whose howlers almost caused Veen (tingling, and light-loined, and with Prince N.'s rose-red banknote in his pocket) to fall from his seat.", later taken up with other words in the Mascodagama act (and the intriguing project of "turning a metaphor upsidown"!!!).



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