NABOKV-L post 0018630, Sat, 3 Oct 2009 19:13:18 -0300

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Re: [NABOKOV-L] [QUERY: SPEAK MEMORY]
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Joseph Aisenberg: "...For Nabokov's strained relationship to him you should read Boyd's Vladimir Nabokov, The Russian Years...The lines you quote, which have been called a tribute, of course aren't really much of a tribute. Nabokov is saying that he had always, correctly had a feeling of contempt for his brother (because Nabokov disdained homosexuality)...This sentence ["It is one of those lives that hopelessly claim a belated something... ] I've always thought, was rather unsettling and ugly, as were the words written to Wilson you quote. Nabokov simply could not transcend his bigoted feelings about his brother's sexuality and so his tributes are cutting and condescending at the same time as they try to express regret..."

JM: Thank you, JA, for explanation and interpretation. Perhaps Nabokov's vocabulary in relation to "homosexuality" was not as rich as was his habitual verbal genius in relation to everything else under the sun. After all, there must be probably more than a hundred ways to be "homosexual," and such labeling is insufficient to explain why Nabokov "disdained" it.

Brian Boyd's hypothesis linking Sergei and Lucette is very interesting: it might explain why Van Veen avoided touching or cuddling his half-sister, while his lovemaking to ADA ignored any universal restriction to incest. "Lucette/Sergei" and Van's relationship would then have become a taboo for other, more involuted reasons, should they have been associated to physical contact and affection between brothers.

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