NABOKV-L post 0024923, Mon, 23 Dec 2013 17:29:55 -0500

Re: Dr Mertvago & Dr Swissair
Thank you, Jansy. There is actually a book - a wonderful book - that
discusses 20th century Russian culture in the context of politics in the
Russian empire and the Soviet Union. The author of The Magical Chorus, a
History of Russian Culture from Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn (Knopf, 2008),
Solomon Volkov, believes that Nabokov suffered from Nobel Prize envy, and
that that explains the viciousness of his attitude to both Mr Turnip and
Dr Swissair (I have to admit that that is very funny). Lumbago might also
refer to the place where he worked so hard in Africa (Lambarene in Gabon)
to bring medicine* to the Africans who travelled from hundreds of miles to
be treated for various illnesses, including malaria, yaws and leprosy - you
know what that means. .

Even aside from this insight into the Nabokovian psyche, Volkov's book
makes fabulous reading for anyone interested in Russian literature, drama,
film, dance or music. Volkov was unfortunately nearly assasinated (not
literally, of course) by his unfortunate run-in with Richard Taruskin. The
argued over the legitimacy of a book of memoirs ostensibly by Shostakovich,
which Taruskin believes to be fraudulent. I'm glad that Volkov survived the
attack by the famous musicologist. They may also have disagreed about the
possibility (likely, according to the New Grove Dictionary of Music) that
Tschaikovsky committed suicide shortly before he was to have appeared in a
private court (Tsch. had been accused of having an affair with the nephew
of a nobleman).


Susan Elizabeth Sweeney
Co-Editor, NABOKV-L

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