NABOKV-L post 0024584, Sat, 14 Sep 2013 23:53:10 -0400

Subject
Re: [Thoughts] Art's higher level
Date
Body
Interesting question about interesting observations, Jansy.
I might add to these observations his ability to do chess problems, and see the world (through Luzhin) as organizeable into 8 by 8 squares. A chess board works nomatter how you turn it, and may thus have been particularly pleasing to VN. This brings up something that has always puzzled me. I think it is in Look at the Harlequins that the protagonist, who shares a lot of VN's life, is chagrined because he is unable to visualize a certain path backwards, until his true love somehow helps him. This seems to fit in with your exploration of Nabokov's patterning.


He adds:that "this entire structure...can be compared to a painting and you don't have
to work gradually from left to right..." (SO 32): He is not consciously a
yarn-spinner because he seems to isolate a cerebral plot from
the emerging visual structure of the novel, but this aspect is
not very clear to me. What about his "combinational talents" to compose "riddles with elegant
solutions" ? (p.16) Or "the instant vision turning into rapid speech"? (SO 109) -

Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2013 20:36:47 -0300
From: jansy.nabokv-L@AETERN.US
Subject: [NABOKV-L] [Thoughts] Art's higher level
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU









On
p.144 (F.Bowers - Harvest Book), almost at the beginning of his lecture on
Tolstoy's Anna Karenin, Nabokov explains that it "is not my custom to speak of plots but in the case of
Anna
Karenin I shall make an
exception since the plot of it is essentially a moral plot, a tangle of ethical
tentacles, and this we must explore before enjoying the novel on a higher level
than plot."

In
other texts he is very explicit about some of the elements that fascinate him in
Art on a higher level." It is the enchanter, “more than the yarn-spinner or the teacher" who
interests him, or “the remarkable phenomenon of
mere forms of speech directly giving rise to live creatures” (NG:78) in
Gogol, or Shakespeare’s “verbal poetical
texture…as immensely superior to the structure of his plays as
plays.”

Nabokov starts his novels
on index cards, because their arrangement serves to fill
in "the gaps of the picture, of this jigsaw
puzzle which is quite clear in my mind." (SOp. 16) at the stage
when (like a nest-building bird) he feels "this urge to garner bits of straw and fluff, and eat pebbles
[ ] "having me accumulate the known materials for an unknown
structure" until there "comes a moment
where I am informed from within that the entire structure is finished."
SO 31/2) He adds:that "this entire
structure...can be compared to a painting and you don't have to work gradually
from left to right..." (SO 32): He is not consciously a yarn-spinner
because he seems to isolate a cerebral plot from
the emerging visual structure of the novel, but this aspect is
not very clear to me. What about his "combinational
talents" to compose "riddles with elegant solutions" ? (p.16)
Or "the instant
vision turning into rapid speech"? (SO 109) - Where do these fit in when we keep in mind his
ambition towards "a higher level than plot"? (actually, what
does this really mean?)

For Brian
Boyd, "Nabokov has a reputation for being a great prose stylist, perhaps
even the greatest. The Original of Laura makes me want to rethink what constitutes the distinctively
Nabokovian: not just elevated prose, a recondite lexicon, elegant quicksilver
sentences, minute precision of visual detail, pointed allusion, foregrounded
verbal combinatory play, lucid elusiveness. His style may be most extraordinary
not so much as prose but as story." http://theamericanscholar.org/nabokov-lives-on/#.UjKFFNKsiSo

Thoughts,
anyone?






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