NABOKV-L post 0018817, Wed, 18 Nov 2009 15:58:14 -0500

A Strange Picture of Vladimir Nabokov ...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Books A Strange Picture of Vladimir Nabokov
Posted by Charles Mudede on Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 9:50 AM
Now that everyone is talking about the greatest novelist in the history of this language of ours, Nabokov, about his incomplete novel The Original of Laura, I want to offer not a few words (the title of the incomplete novel tells me everything I need to know about it—Nabokov's last important work is Ada) but an image, a curious image:

That shirt! That chest! Nabokov as Humbert.

Two things I want to say before ending this post. One, this passage shows us something that's worth a moment or two of thought:

I can tell you that Nabokov's son Dmitri did not publish this [incomplete novel] against Vladimir's wishes because he wanted money for a sportscar. Dmitri is 76, and in a wheelchair. This was a question, among other things, of legacy and of keeping the decision in the family.

Dmitri is about to reach the age that his father died, 78.

Two: It is not a surprise that Nabokov is the greatest novelist in English. The Russian tradition of that form is much richer than the English one, which not only has failed to produce a school of exceptional novelists but also philosophers. We have only brilliant flashes here and there but nothing like a proper constellation of luminous novelists and philosophers. The English is only something special when it comes to economics. Ours is the language of doing (and writing about) business

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