NABOKV-L post 0018650, Fri, 9 Oct 2009 19:28:59 -0300

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Re: [NABOKOV-L] [ Sighting] [QUERY] Ada's first lines: Pontius
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Gavriel Shapiro: "The title of Leo Tolstoy's trilogy in question has been partly omitted, partly mistranslated. It should read Childhood. Adolescence (or Boyhood). Youth. "

JM: Thank you!

I forgot to mention a kind of coincidence related to "Detstvo," "Otrochestvo," and "Iunost" since, yesterday, when I opened vol. 11 of Nabokov Studies, I found that Zoran Kuzmanovich's mentioned them in his editorial. He wrote:
"Originally (and perhaps hastily) conceived as a thoughtful look at the development of Nabokov studies during this journal's first ten volumes, the current volume has had a traumatic birth, a childhoord cursed with many unexpected growing pains and changes of focus, and an adolescence that seemed to be at least twice as long as most..."

J.Aisenberg: ... Do you mean that you don't understand how my way of reading the book fits with the notion that "Lucette was the only taboo he [Van] could respect in his dissolute life"? Let me put what I meant a different way. First remove the fact Ada, Van and Lucette are siblings [...] Ada, like Hayworth and the audience of both tales, suspect that Van may have fallen for Lucette''s innocent vulnerability and purity without knowing it yet[...] Nabokov said somewhere that atheists and interracial couples were the only real taboos in stories[...] In a way, this is just what he's done in Ada. The awful brother and sister couple, who shouldn't work out, are allowed to live happily ever after to a ripe old age convinced that their love is the greatest thing ever! [...] Does that get anywhere near what you're talking about?

JM: No. I simply cannot "remove" the fact that Ada,Van and Lucette are siblings, nor that Van choosing Lucette would be all right, whereas the "awful brother and sister couple, who shouldn't work out, are allowed to live happily ever after to a ripe old age convinced that their love is the greatest thing ever."
And yet, I rather like the irony with which you describe Van-and-Ada's love. It's closer to the theories about "love" than what I read in NS's reviews (197):
"In Ada, the subject of the sixth chapter, love is central, and it is an authentic and lasting one, although it originates in sexual desire. But the desire of Ada and Van is, according to Coutourir, so intense that even psychoanalysis is unable to account for it [...] their love is a quest for being-one and ends in the creation of a book..."*

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*This quest for "being-one", at least for Lacan, indicates a "refusal to deal with castration," although it represents, indeed, "a love story in which love resembles the one described by Plato, that is, a love characterized by the desire to recreatre a previous unity" (197/198), should Nabokov have described himself as "a platonist" ( he didn't).

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