NABOKV-L post 0015907, Tue, 22 Jan 2008 11:07:25 -0000

Subject
Re: SIGHTING: Reb Vladimir
Date
Body
Rachel Trousdale (Agnes Scott) gave a paper featuring the Yiddish Policeman's Union at the Nabokov in Transition conference in Oxford last July.

http://users.ox.ac.uk/~lina0897/nabokov/programme.html

Barbara Wyllie
SSEES/UCL
----- Original Message -----
From: Nabokv-L
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 2:53 AM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] SIGHTING: Reb Vladimir




-------- Original Message -------- Subject: Reb Vladimir
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 15:06:32 -0500
From: M Juliar <michael@juliar.com>
To: nabokv-l@utk.edu, nabokv-l@holycross.edu



Michael Chabon's (Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) Nabokov interests have been pointed out. His latest novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, a mazy, noirish thriller embedded in a recoursed river of Jewish history, dubs Nabokov with an honorific that I can't imagine that Nabokov ever imagined for himself. From the novel's overlooked Author's Note:

...the Zugzwang of Mendel Shpilman was devised by Reb Vladimir Nabokov and is presented in his Speak, Memory.

Zugzwang is the chess term for being put at a disadvantage by being obliged to make a move. Here, it refers to a chess problem involving Zugzwang. Mendel Shpilman is the poor chess-playing soul, the discovery of whose corpse kicks off the story. And Reb is the Jewish title of respect often applied to a learned man or teacher. The problem is, of course, the one on page 293 of the Vintage Speak, Memory.

Reb Vladimir feels so right to me.

Michael Juliar

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