NABOKV-L post 0018605, Sun, 27 Sep 2009 10:39:09 -0300

Re: A sighting, a recommendation, a thanks
James Twiggs: Finally, a thank you to Jansy for her interesting take on Wilson's famous essay on THE TURN OF THE SCREW.

J.M: A very good discussion about Nabokov, "art for art's sake" and Wilson's "arbitrary introduction of social commentary" (check for a full commentary on p.21), can be found in the Introduction by Simon Karlinsky to "Dear Bunny, Dear Volodya; or, Affinities and Disagreements" (University of California Press, 2001).

From the exchange of letters bt. V.N and E.W. here are a few quotes, related to Henry James, since an amusing "edge" may be discerned in Wilson's February 3 1942 observation about the translation of "Laughter in the Dark" if we keep in mind Nabokov's letter to "dear Bunny", written in November 28,1941, and in which he criticizes Henry James.

Nabokov: "Yesterday I read the Aspern Papers. No. He writes with a sharp nib and the ink is very pale and there is very little of it in his inkpot [...] The style is artistic but it is not the style of an artist. For instance: the man is smoking a cigar in the dark and another person sees the red tip from the window. Red tip makes one think of a red pencil or a dog licking itself[...] in fact the flow is blunt[...] Henry James is definitely for non-smokers." (page 59)

E.Wilson: " I have just read Laughter in the Dark [...] Did you do the translation yourself? - because it is very good. I noticed, by the way, that at one point the tip of somebody's cigar is referred to."

( I understand E.Wilson was not as fond of "Laughter in the Dark" as he'd been of "TRLSK", particularly its "implausible" last chapters...)

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