NABOKV-L post 0002281, Mon, 11 Aug 1997 09:11:17 -0700

Re: Hofstadter in VN's shade (fwd)
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <>
Subject: Re: Hofstadter in VN's shade (fwd)

From: Stephen Blackwell <>

Hofstadter certainly has fairly little to tell us about Nabokov, although
he does use "Nabokov" (Hofstadter's creation, a gleaning and
conglomeration of certain convenient facets and moments of Nabokov's
persona) as a foil for his own musings on translation and analogy.

However, since Hofstadter was intensely involved in the translation of
GODEL, ESCHER, BACH into at least French, and probably also Italian,
we must grant him a deep practical experience in the field of translation.
How applicable his experience is to the realm of poetry is a topic
broached in Robert Alter's review of TON BEAU, NYT Book Review, either
7/20 or 7/27/97. Alter also refers to VN's appearances.

By the way, the first VN allusion I find in TON BEAU is on page "1a",
which follows page four:

"...I felt it would be of such utility to English-speaking readers to see
a few 'cribs' or 'ponies' from the very outset that I just went ahead and
stuck them in here."

Also, the translation of Marot's poem on page "4b" seems at least partly
inspired by VN's insistence on literal translation. The initial line, "Ma
mignonne," in French, becomes "My sweet/cute [one] (feminine),"--and the
annotations never let up. It's definitely worth a look.

Steve Blackwell

Stephen H. Blackwell office: 423/974-3421
Assistant Professor of Russian fax: 423/974-7096
Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages
701 McClung Tower
University of Tennessee
Knoxville TN 37996