Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0019914, Mon, 26 Apr 2010 19:30:06 EDT

Re: a BIRTHDAY proposal?
Dear Carolyn,

It was a serious response (though not intended for his birthday -- that was
an editorial idea). I agree that these are apparently rather pitiful
pieces of evidence for his lovingkindness, and an extermination-camp commandant
could doubtless provide apparently equivalent or better evidence. But I am
somehow convinced of VN's basic true kindness, as opposed to the
sentimental "kindness" of the commandant. I was dismayed that I could think of no
better evidence than these two feeble examples. Perhaps I am too easily
swayed by VN's explicitly stated love of kindness and dislike of cruelty, but
they always struck me as genuine.

What I find most questionable, or at least puzzling, is his insistence
that "Lolita" is "pure" and "abstract", so utterly removed from his own
concerns, whereas his most casual references in interviews, and other parts of
his oeuvre, so frequently return quite (to me) unexpectedly and arbitrarily to
the paedophilic theme, like a sore thumb. I am dismayed not so much by the
apparent obsession as by the suspicion that he is simply not honest here,
when one feels that in an interview, especially one prepared to be read
from index cards, his readers are entitled to expect honesty -- the truth,
even if not necessarily the whole truth. It is true that he said art itself
is a form of deception, but surely we are entitled to expect that his
writings and interviews about himself and his art should not be.

I am surprised that there appears to have been no discussion of this. What
do others think?

Anthony Stadlen

Anthony Stadlen
2A Alexandra Avenue
GB - London N22 7XE
Tel.: +44 (0) 20 8888 6857
Email: stadlen@aol.com
"Existential Psychotherapy & Inner Circle Seminars" at_

In a message dated 26/04/2010 22:12:49 GMT Daylight Time,
chaiselongue@EARTHLINK.NET writes:

Dear Anthony,

Is this a serious response to my question? Or, as seems more likely, a
joke? I mean I can think of several horrifying dictators who can come up with
better examples of kindness (especially to animals) than these! You know
who was a vegetarian, after all.

So far I have to say the Nabokovian soul isn't doing too well.

_ (http://anthonystadlen.blogspot.com/)

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