NABOKV-L post 0019373, Wed, 10 Feb 2010 08:47:27 -0200

James Wood on Lermontov, LRB
Dave Haan:.James Wood considers a new translation of Lermontov's _A Hero of Our Time_...mentioning Nabokov only en parenthessant: "Natasha Randall’s English...has exactly the right degree of loose velocity...(Nabokov’s version, the best-known older translation, is a bit more demure than Randall’s, less savage.)."However, there is much more of interest in the issues that are suggestive of grounds for Nabokov's appreciation[...] "Parody, as Dostoevsky acutely understood, is an act of admiration as much as of disdain, and perhaps the best way of understanding Pechorin’s distorted histrionics is by way of Dostoevsky’s dialectic of assertion and abasement."[ ] perhaps Nabokov's way of understanding parody is to be preferred, and may also illuminate his disdain for Dusty ...

JM: Very interesting screening of James Wood's essay on Natasha Randall's new translation of "A Hero of Our Time," and your "en parenthessant" readings about Nabokov, as a translator and an author. As I understand from your observation, for you Nabokov is exempt of having applied both "admiration and disdain"in his parodies (quoting VN: "Satire is a lesson, parody is a game"and "parody...its familiar sense of "grotesque imitation." - "parody in the sense of an essentially lighthearted, delicate, mockingbird game" Cf.
Do you consider that VN opposed Dusty because the latter's "dialectic of assertion and abasement" was in direct contrast to Nabokov's explicitation that art rests on a state in which "curiosity, tenderness, kindness" are the norm? In his interviews and strong opinions Nabokov allowed us a glimpse into less elaborate feelings towards many other authors and people. Do you agree, then, such contrasting motivations make Nabokov's artistic achievements even more admirable?*

*Recent postings seem to suggest that Nabokov's full "compassion and tenderness," (as expressed by John Shade), his sense of humor and parody, is sometimes misunderstood, or applied only in part:
Sandy Klein: Lemony Snicket is known to millions of children worldwide as the author of the Series of Unfortunate Events books...the narrator presents himself as a lonely journalist who has had more than his fair share of tragedy... The self-referentiality of the books can be traced back to his [Daniel Hanlder] love of Vladimir Nabokov. “I was a Nabokov freak,” Handler says wistfully. “There’s something about the way he writes that drags my brain right in.” He says there is something Nabokovian about Lemony Snicket. “He’s an unreliable narrator, he’s distracted by detail and digression until detail and digression become the point of the thing.” Handler has written adult (“that sounds kind of dirty”) novels under his own name, which exhibit a similar playfulness.
Sandy Klein: Review - The Lolita Effect /The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It by M. G. Durham/ by Michael Pereira, M.A.: M. G. Durham's The Lolita Effect is an investigation into the present condition of the media's portrayal of young girls...The title of this book comes from the Lolita novel by Vladimir Nabokov. Durham addresses how our putative attitude to the 'Lolita' is based on the sexualized fantasy of a young girl (Dolores Haze) imposed by the adult character Humbert Humbert. For Durham, a conscientious reading of Nabokov's Lolita should consider...Haze is ultimately the victim of an adult's fantasy. This metaphor works very well to characterize the social condition of how the media impacts on our attitudes about female sexuality and how the warped sexualized reading of young Haze overshadows her plight.

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