NABOKV-L post 0018815, Wed, 18 Nov 2009 11:29:40 -0800

Subject
Re: Nabokov’s Notes For “The Origin al of Laura” Go on the Auction Blo ck -and a SIGHTING
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Jansy, et al: 
 I am not at all a Nabokov scholar, but I have read the many (not so kind) reviews of VN's "Laura."  The common thread running through most of the criticism is that the notes (and VN) would have been better served (as Tom Stoppard suggested) being burned. 

Do these scribbled notes offer any redemptive return to academics, or is VN's reputation diminished?  Is the novel simply a teaser to ramp up the sale price of the note cards?" I really am confused by all this piffle.  JWS 
 
From: jansymello <jansy@AETERN.US>
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
Sent: Sat, November 14, 2009 8:50:32 AM
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] Nabokov’s Notes For “The Origin al of Laura” Go on the Auction Block -and a SIGHTING


JM:Kate Taylor's review literally inserts the punch of coincidence, ghostly voices authenticated by biographers, aging embryos, and great humor. So, to shift our focus slightly I want to add to her comments an overdue "VN Sighting." 
The more obvious one is an insertion of Nabokov's short-story "The Assistant Producer," among twenty-nince selected items at "The Anthology of Comic Writing," edited by Malcolm Bradbury (Phoenix Giants, 1994).
It appears as the fifth, sandwiched between Jorge Luis Borges and "Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote,"and Isaac Bashevis Singer, "Gimple, the Fool." The amusing touch appears in Bradbury's introduction to Borges, not in his admiringly fair presentation of Nabokov.
 
page 47: "We read many things into books - their supposed author, the time they were written - and detached from those things they become what essentially they are: texts. Borges returned writing to being writing, and then explored its ambiguities... 'Pierre Menard'm alongside Borges' other teasing stories and parodies (and the work of fellow authors like Beckett, Queneau, and Nabokov), connected fiction to its own comic beginnings and the huge, confusing library of all past literature - to which, after all, every new piece of writing must be a footnote."
 
After the hazards of marchand d'art timings and of social history punch outs, readers shall soon be treated to a dying man's final jottings and his essential "text." - from where, perhaps, like Gogol's and Kafka's central human characters, another one, who mimes Psyché's butterfly, shall be trying "to get out of that world, to cast off the mask, to transcend the cloak or the carapace." (LL, on Kafka's "Metamorphosis).
 
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Sandy P. Klein: Nabokov’s Notes For “The Original of Laura” Go on the Auction Block Christie's... THE WALL STREET JOURNAL) http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2009/11/12/nabokovs-note-cards-for-the-original-of-laura-go-on-the-auction-block/Kate Taylor. Looking for the perfect gift for the reader in your life? The Knopf hardcover...reproduces Nabokov’s handwritten index cards, complete with perforated edges so that one can punch them out and rearrange them as the author might have in his last days. But if you’re looking for something really special, skip the bookstore and head to Christie’s, where on December 4 you can bid on the actual thing...the work his son would call “an embryonic masterpiece.” Don’t expect to get them cheap, though. As the auction catalogue notes, manuscripts by Nabokov come on the market very rarely. Accordingly, the estimate is $400,000 to $600,000....Of the coincidence of the sale and the novel’s publication,
Lecky said, “It will certainly increase the exposure of both. They’re obviously intimately linked”. Nabokov’s biographer, Brian Boyd, said in an email that the author would not be at all disturbed by his son’s profiting from “Laura.”



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