NABOKV-L post 0019352, Mon, 8 Feb 2010 13:54:53 -0200

Re: arshin in Eugene Onegin
JM: In the two latest reviews sent by S.Klein (with an incrusted other)*, the luxurious edition of TOoL ( in "economically challenged times") remains an object of wonder, inspite of a vision of Laura as the "culminating bunny." However, as "Plagiarist Gregory" concludes, Nabokov loved English "with the devotion of a convert"..."to become a great titan of 20th-century literature."
From John Simon's itemizations, one was particularly interesting by calling attention to ToOL's list of writer's names beginning "with M... a joke by a mannered alphabet?" because I couldn't avoid remembering Aunt Maud's wide-eyed "verse book open at the Index/ Moon, Moonrise, Moor, Moral)" (poem, lines 94-95) and Kinbote's report about poltergeist-induced "little table from his study upon which he kept a Bible-like Webster open at M was standing in a state of shock outdoors, on the snow (subliminally this may have participated in the making of lines 5-12)." (Cp.poem, lines 877/79).
From A.Sklyarenko's extracts from Russian Literature open at Nabokov**, the reference to Van's anagrammatic dream "...'can't die' - a difficult procedure to carry out voluntarily..." also led me to TOoL and Philip Wild's experimentation with no dagger, ball or bowls, just plain will-power. It's such a pity that TOoL's fragmentary state doesn't permit us to seriously pursue an inter-textual hunt.

* Sandy Klein 1. "Real Life Becomes Nabokov Novel..." "this whole thing is a response to this article... Vladimir Nabokov is one if the great titans of 20th-century literature (or maybe any century)...Nabokov approached English and loved it with the devotion of a convert...(Plagiarist Gregory) "This article": The New Republican Review, by William Deresiewicz titled "Carded": ..."print it in a scholarly journal, sell it to The New Yorker, put it in a catchall collection of unpublished work. I was not for burning...after all the prefatory gestures of a small-time conjurer building up to the culminating bunny...Scarcely thirty pages worth of text, packaged into a brick of a book (curb weight 2.4 pounds) and modestly priced at, ahem, thirty-five bucks...I don't think Dmitri did it for the money...But I do think Knopf did, and they must have drafted a platoon of cosmetologists..."
2. John Simon: "Typically, Nabokov strikes out in all directions...How many names can be listed on the ball of a girl's thumb? Why would all these names begin with M? A joke by a mannered alphabet, whatever that is, or the whim of a mannered writer?...Then again, why are "virtually" all these M writers "stunning mediocrities"? And why the "virtually"? ...It is touching that in these economically challenged times Knopf could bring out such a luxurious edition of The Original of Laura. No expenditure was spared on the binding-full linen with laser-copied quotations from the book"

** A.Slyarenko: "Whom, then, to love? Whom to believe? Who is the only one that won't betray us?"[...] Ben Sirine is an obscene ancient Arab, expounder of anagrammatic dreams, mentioned in Ada: 2.2; sir is the word that occurs in Van's anagrammatic dream: "Two formless fat transparent creatures were engaged in some discussion, one repeating 'I can't!' (meaning 'can't die' - a difficult procedure to carry out voluntarily, without the help of the dagger, the ball, or the bowl), and the other affirming 'You can, sir!':"

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