NABOKV-L post 0019340, Fri, 5 Feb 2010 13:28:54 -0200

Alexey Sklyarenko [to JM}: (a)..."I'm afraid I only succeeded in misleading you even more with my comments. What is strange, you seem to be aware of the passage absent from Speak, Memory but present in "Другие берега" (Chapter Three, 5;* it is in the paragraph following the one that ends: "He was extremely good at poker") ...
I hope someone ...will translate this passage for you, if it doesn't exist in English (in Conclusive Evidence)."
(b) "I deduce that the Russian passage I quoted in my previous post isn't in Conclusive Evidence either. It is only in "Другие берега" and proves inaccessible not to Jansy alone."
(c) Forgot to mention that shar means "sea strait" ...On the other hand, "the ha-ha of a doubled ocean" (1.3) is how Van humorously calls the Bering Strait separating (on Terra) Russia and America. One remembers the mad geographer in Ilf and Petrov's The Golden Calf who went mad when he didn't find the Bering Strait on the globe. It was forgotten because of golovotyapstvo (bungling) of the Kniga i polyus ("Book and the Pole") publishers...In my previous post, "immodest" was a slip of mental finger. It should be "frivolous:" It is surprising that a writer as grave as Mlle Lariviere should adopt the rather frivolous pen-name Monparnasse.

JM: I was almost going mad, too, fearing that idiolects would be lurking in plain English sight. Trying to recover my berings I found Vladimir Mylnikov's review in "Nabokov Studies" and his fundamental indications about VN's "autobiographies," which I want to share with other equally perplexed List-participants who have had no access to Malikova's monograph.
Mylnikov begins with: "Maria Malikova's monograph is the first extended Russian study of Nabokov's three memoirs: Conclusive Evidence, Speak, Memory, and Drugie berega (Other Shores). It is the first to cover the entire corpus of Nabokov's autobiographies (not just the Russian Drugie berega or the English Speak, Memory) and to treat them as integral parts of a single, integrated organism. Malikova also examines the fictional biographies in Nabokov's Russian novels. The volume concludes with the sixteenth and final chapter of Conclusive Evidence (in Sergey Ilyin's translation), which Nabokov omitted from all of the published versions. It appeared only in commemoration of the author's centenary in 1999."*

(c) Is Mlle Lariviere's pen-name "frivolous"? Her name, Ida, indicates Mount Ida, in Turkey. Various exchanges in the list, connecting "cup-bearers" in Pale Fire ("situla", "Hebes cup") and Ada (Bouteillan and in Villa Venus), through Ganymede (abducted by Zeus from phrygian Mt. Ida) can be found in March,5/6,2008. Nabokov didn't think highly of "Parnassian poets," either.

* Cf.
Nabokov Studies 8 (2004) 199-203 : Maria Malikova. V.Nabokov. Auto-bio-grafiia. St. Petersubg:Akademischeskii Proekt, 2002. In it we also find that " Speak, Memory, although "the ideal introduction" to the whole of Nabokov's oeuvre, is, in a sense marginal to that oeuvre...Its dominant feature is that Nabokov explicitly directs and imposes on the reader his method of reading, which can be misleading because it forces the reader to imitate the writer. Malikova suggests a different approach: the reader must oppose "the author's tyranny," conflate the fictional and factual reading codes, and, finally, consider the parodic nature of "autobiographic intertextuality." He adds: "The third chapter, "The Poet's Life as a Pastiche of His Art," moves on to Nabokov's fictional biographies-Despair, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, andthe life of Chernyshevsky. Malikova surveys recent readings of Despair, as well as those by Nabokov's contemporaries, and argues that the novel parodies the Russian emigre literature of "human document" written by feeble Proustian imitators, who, being deeply self-centered, lack a detailed vision of the outer world."

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