NABOKV-L post 0017793, Mon, 2 Mar 2009 14:07:32 -0300

Re: Nabokov in Makine]
L. Hochard: A.Makine [ quoted by Iris Neva:"On top of this, your Nabo doesn't care about knowing whom this accent belonged to [...] He writes like a collector of butterflies: he catches a pretty insect, knocks it out with formalin, impales it on a needle. He proceeds the same with words...",] seems to harbour the old outmoded idea that VN is a cold insensitive and cruel aesthete [...] But VN's narrative system aims precisely at denouncing moralizing moralism as too easy, over accommodating and, when all is said and done, hypocritical...

JM: I agree with L.Hochard about VN's narrative system aiming at denouncing moralizing moralism. What puzzles me is the description of A.Makine's ideas as "old outmoded" - should this conclusion derive solely from the offered excerpts: Makine's words might have been ironical in their context.
The same twist is noted after Barry Warren's contextualization of C.Kunin's "Ode to Roman Jakobson" and Gershwin's "The Saga of Jenny."
L.Hochard's quote from V.' in RLSK is revealing: "As often was the way with Sebastian Knight [and with Nabokov his maker], he used parody as a kind of spring-board for leaping into the highest region of serious emotion" Would this also apply to Makine?*

Thanks to A. Stadlen for the marvellous historical and biological explanation about the expression "doryphore" ("a pedantic critic of minor errors; a nit-picker."),a spear-carrying potato beetle. Quite unlike Kafka's domed doomed beetle, btw. Alexey, your radiant connections for FD's "The Brothers Karamasov" are a feat. And I don't think AS-B had been thinking of you when he first mentioned the doryphorous pest...As one of Stadlen's quotes shows [ In 1996, Herb Caen commented in the San Francisco Chronicle: "For a doryphore, what is more delightful than a mistake in a correction?" ] nit-picking and pic-nicking may be a dangerous thing, what with all those bugs on the loose!

* - while exchanging messages off-list about "crocodile tears" ( first deliciously described by Kipling in his Elephant Child's story), it came out that Lewis Carroll's croc who "welcomes little fishes in/ With gently smiling jaws!" was a parody of moralizing Isaac Watts ( recently mentioned by J.F and SK-B in connection to Derzhavin's acrocstic).
From C.Kunin's side-find: "How Doth the Little Crocodile" is a parody of the moralistic poem "Against Idleness And Mischief" by Isaac Watts ( Doryphores, beware!)

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