NABOKV-L post 0015621, Sat, 27 Oct 2007 16:21:28 -0400

Vladimir Nabokov? In Speak, Memory ...

Music on his mind

October 27, 2007

Tales of Music and the Brain
By Oliver Sacks
Knopf Canada,

381 pages, $34.95

Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim Dixon is surely the exception when he complains about being subjected to "some skein of untiring facetiousness by filthy Mozart" and then "some Brahms rubbish," followed by "a violin sonata by some Teutonic bore." Unlucky him, we might think, at least for the Mozart. But that "some" is indicative: These are curses, not philistinism, taking names in vain as the cri de coeur of a man who spends his life being bored by other people, especially his employers.

But what about Vladimir Nabokov? In Speak, Memory, he wrote that music sounded to him "merely as an arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds.

[ ... ]

Contributing reviewer Mark Kingwell, a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto, is at work on a biography of Glenn Gould; his Concrete Reveries: Consciousness and the City will be published next March.

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