NABOKV-L post 0019581, Sun, 7 Mar 2010 12:11:35 -0500

Re: Nabokov and Martin Amis

Oh, and I forgot one of the best, VN-ish parts of "The Moth": The very reliable narrator of the story actually footnotes three of the written volleys between the warring entomologists!

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 2010 21:25:41 +0100
From: hafidbouazza@GMAIL.COM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Nabokov and Martin Amis

Dear List,

While you are discussing Wells' influence on Nabokov (pity no one seems to have read his short story 'The Moth', which I have pointed out a while ago: it is more important than any green door), I want to show Nabokov's influence on others. On Martin Amis, especially. In his hilarious and delightful short story 'Let Me Count the Times' ( Amis at his best; from Heavy Water, Johathan Cape, 1998) the reader will find this sentence:

Her hands mimed their defencelessness as the great muscles rippled and plunged along Vernon's powerful back.

A strong echo of Nabokov's in Despair:

From my magical point of vantage I watched the ripples running and plunging along my muscular back...

There is also this sentence in Amis' same story:

Vernon always felt desperately ashamed afterwards, and would be a limp spectre of embarrassment and remorse at breakfast the following day.

That 'limp spectre of embarrassment...etc.' reminds me strongly of Nabokov,; I am sure he used 'limp spectre of' at least once, but I cannot pinpoint any passage. At first glance I was reminded of this (also from Despair):

...and my will lay limp in an empty world... - which is not what I am looking for.

Amis' whole erotic story seems to draw heavily from the sexual part in Despair when the narrator dwells on his 'dissociation' during love-making (chapter two).


Hafid Bouazza

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