NABOKV-L post 0018701, Sat, 24 Oct 2009 15:22:18 -0200

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Re: Ada as an island
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JM: Sklyarenko's "woman-haters and antlers," may be woven onto Sandy Klein's "shighting" of TOoL and its reference to Somerset Maugham and the process of "reverse alchemy." Fortunately, Alexey is a great extricator of Nabokovian lost threads: this time he led us, from Ada, onto the magnetic islands afloat in Chekhov, Verne,Swift.
Since Alexey's connections shuttle in either direction bt. the mundane and the otherworldly archipelagus, his flights always help us to broaden our perspective, thereby challenging the "reverse alchemy" as a process that could be applicable to VN's work.

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Alexey Sklyarenko: "...ada means 'island' in many Turkic languages (as I pointed out in previous posts, the place name Uzun Ada, 'long island,' is mentioned and explained in Jules Verne's novel Claudius Bombarnac). Now, Chekhov...is the author of a side-splitting parody: 'The Flying Islands (by Jules Verne)'.... One of its three characters is William Bolvanius... (a woman-hater who was married three times and therefore has three pairs of beautiful branchy antlers)...As far as I know, there are no flying islands in J. Verne, but there is Laputa, the flying island in J. Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726). In Ada, Laputa is a freight airplane on which Ada's two maids fly over from America to Europe with Ada's trunks."

Sandy Klein sends a link to Jessa Crispin's article that mentions TOoL (http://www.thesmartset.com/article/article10210901.aspx) "As a longtime fan of Maugham's work, I was certainly curious about what inspired him to write such vicious accounts of marriage. Although now that I know how incredibly unhappy he was to be forced to marry Syrie, does that add to or detract from my favorite scene in 'The Painted Veil' in which the husband tells his wife he knew she was a frivolous idiot when he married her... In his review of 'The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham,' the Guardian's Ian Samson referred to biographies as 'reverse alchemy,' taking the gold of the creative act and turning it back into the lead of mundane daily life. Remember this next time readers cry out and demand to read a famous author's unpublished short story...and wish they hadn't read it after all."

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