Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020974, Sun, 14 Nov 2010 18:03:52 -0200

Re: Nabokov and Iris Murdoch?
Brian Boyd: Emma V. Miller, a PhD student at Durham working on Iris Murdoch, was “struck by the similarity between the subtleties of Nabokov's moral vision and Murdoch's.” She asked if I knew whether Nabokov had shown any interest in Nabokov’s work. I said no, but asked about the reverse direction...If anyone knows or sees any other connections, Emma would like to hear: e.v.miller@durham.ac.uk.

JM: I read a book by Iris Murdoch on "Sartre" while still an adolescent and one sentence in it, in particular, remained in my memory. It provides a flimsy shared background but the same paradox, as the one Murdoch described, seems to have been often mentioned by Nabokov, in indirect ways.
It deals with the impossibility of simultaneously living an experience and witnessing oneself live it, ie, the realization that one must choose between feeling and making a conscious register to be able to cherish the experience later, as a memory.
There's a second, even vaguer, connection which brought Iris Murdoch to my mind while I was reading RLSK. Sebastian often mentions Rupert Brooke and quotes, in passing, a line from "the Old vicarage" related to an "unofficial rose". Murdoch wrote a novel with this title but from that reading I preserve no recollection.

These connections are insufficient for me to contact Emma Miller directly. They might be of interest to the List because they may serve to trigger other kinds of elements related to any shared philosophical or poetic grounds by Nabokov and Murdoch. However, I don't think that common existential quandaries would be of significance when the matter is to establish literary influences between the work of the two writers. .

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