NABOKV-L post 0016756, Thu, 17 Jul 2008 06:19:54 -0700

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Re: THOUGHTS re: JA on VN and Relativity
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Re Mr Aisenberg's assertion that"[VN] mocked Einstein, whom he thought a victim of the logic of his own erroneous thinking. There's a particularly crude gag about relativity somewhere in the Texture of Time portion of Ada, I believe."
As Brian Boyd (yes, him!) showed in his book on ADA, VN did not mock Einstein as a few early critics of ADA thought, but Langevin (=Engelwein), who was the first to come up with the twin paradox.
This is the relevant passage in ADA:
A. Bouazza."One especially grotesque inference, drawn (I think by Engelwein) from Relativity Theory—and destroying it, if drawn correctly—is that the galactonaut and his domestic animals, after touring the speed spas of Space, would return younger than if they had stayed at home all the time."
----- Original Message ----
From: Nabokv-L <nabokv-l@UTK.EDU>
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 9:44:03 PM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] THOUGHTS re: JA on VN and Relativity


Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] children's rhymes
From: Stan Kelly-Bootle <skb@bootle.biz>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2008 20:00:55 +0100
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
Joseph: as I've observed in earlier postings, it's rather unfair to expect VN's manifest literary genius to also extend into other domains such as pure and applied mathematics. He lived through remarkable revolutions both socio-political and scientific. The latter included not only Einstein/Bohr (relativity and quantum mechanics) but also the failure of Hilbert's plan to formalize the foundations of mathematics (Goedel, Church, Turing). I continue to explore any signs of these influencing VN's writings.

skb



On 24/06/2008 20:19, "joseph Aisenberg" <vanveen13@SBCGLOBAL.NET> wrote:

Oh, I very much hope you continue! I thought this and your other note extremely interesting. Personally, I don't think Nabokov really had a theoretical scientific brain at all. I've read this Gogol book, and his lectures on the writer several times, and never really knew what he meant with that "four dimension" talk other than the stories being sort of groovy and sort of fantastic (as opposed, say to the "three dimensions" he said Tolstoy had to his writing), since the e.g.s Nabokov supplied of Gogolian prose really seemed like tricks of Rhetoric taken to bizzare extremes, analogies growing into whole independent stories and then fading away, repetivie modifications for comic grotesque hyper-effects, etc. And you know, Nabokov's notions of Time really have not much relationship to theories of relativity. He mocked Einstein, whom he thought a victim of the logic of his own erroneous thinking. There's a particularly crude gag about relativity somewhere in
the Texture of Time portion of Ada, I believe. Surely some other Nabokovian out there will be able to provide the exact quote!
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