NABOKV-L post 0016609, Mon, 30 Jun 2008 10:33:36 -0700

Re: THOUGHTS: Nabokov, Plato, and extratextual characters

the idea of rotation acting upon the ferment of life, and provoked by that ferment itself, is what gave rise in nature to the lawlike regularity of repetition, of recognition, and of logical responsibility, to which the apparatus of human ratiocination, the fruit of the same agitated woodlands, is subordinate... ". So, even though VN distinguishes a reality engendered by memory and perception (individual details), from a reality achieved thru reasoning (abstract thought), he also stresses that both "realities" are constituted by the same "agitated woodlands" and "reflected in that selfsame glass and acquiring its reality solely within it" ( i.e. no Plato, here, no "recollection of ultimate reality" ie. no "fantasy"!) J. Aisenberg re: I wasn't trying to say that N. was a Platonist, I was saying that the quote you sent from his continuation of The Gift had a weird Platonism in it, that a kind of Platonism tends to creep into N.'s thinking (actually there was more even
to that odd quote than I at first noticed which concerns the Intelligent Designer Nabookov was always at such pains to usher all the great rhetoric of his great art to build just on the outer of edge of his thinking, casting its shadow over the topic of natural observation). As to the above quote about "the idea of rotation acting upon the ferment of life, and provoked by that ferment itself..." giving rise to the lawlike regularity of repetition. How does an "idea of rotation" (italics mine)act on anything? Hasn't Nabokov simply once more made the cosmos "ideal", an embodiment of someone else's imagining? Not that I understand what precisely is intended by "roation" in anycase. Does it refer to the stirring of the cosmic soup from which life is said to have emerged, the orbits of the planets, or what? How does an idea that acts on the "ferment of life" get "provoked" by that ferment? What's interesting is that if you follow Nabokov's reasoning over many quotes he's come
up with a way to combine a couple notions. His assumed, probable deity apparently dreamed up the world much the way a novelist is first inspired with an idea for a book; then proceded to create the universe, the way a novelist sets to work writing that book, which while similar to the writer's original inspiration is never quite the same as the concrete work--this would be true of the universe as well in Nabokov's implications. Mankind, or the reader, then attempts to, well, read the universe trying to understand the "idea" of creation which God had in mind before putting its hand to work, as a critic tries to explain what a novelist "intended" by their book and how well they acheived their ends. What seems to tickle Nabokov is that the idea in the critic's brain will not quite match up with the one in the creator's brain (so that a new potential reality has spiraled off the extent one, those novels of my analogy), and likewise my notion of what he really thought is skewed
into a new Nabokov, because if he had thought things out in precisely the way I say then he would have said it that way. But what if you can't quite believe in that intelligent designer, what does that do to all this reification of nature and the perception of the senses, I wonder? What if it turns out you're not playing chess with a concealed concealer but bouncing a ball off a brick wall? Nabokov entertains this idea in his work with a certain uneasiness, it lurks in his books, being routed and dismissed over and over again, but always remaining as a distinct possibility, the dead thing at the center of transparent colored rings.

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