NABOKV-L post 0026127, Sun, 19 Apr 2015 14:20:12 -0300

critical time travel by eversion? Reading A.Swanson's 1975
artinle forty years later
"I loathe science fiction with its gals and goons, suspense and
suspensories" (ADA,117), quoted by Arthur Swanson in “Nabokov's Ada as
Science Fiction”
There are ways of asking questions that open new investigative paths into
the work of an author, others lead us onto real or artificial quandaries.
Here is an example of inquiries that lead us into fresh assertions, new
parallels and vocabulary but also to real and false quandaries. It begins
asking “Can Ada be viewed as science fiction?” and it investigates if
“science…unblended with poetry transforms humans into insects” and turns
“’real things’ (facts,logoi) into ‘ghost things’,” now imposing the
author’s own understanding of “real things” by adding “facts, logoi” inside
parenthesis. A.Swanson sees V.Nabokov’s novel as carrying a meaning that may
disappear after being discovered. By ignoring the dimension of its “art” he
will consider Ada’s survival “in its own concepts”.

"The question here has been "Can Ada be viewed as science fiction?" If the
foregoing argument in the affirmative is accepted, other questions must
follow: Why does Nabokov make use of science fiction elements? Does he
consider science to be, when unblended with poetry, a form of incest which
transforms humans into insects, as his insect-scient-nicest -incest anagram
indicates? (85/§1:13) Does he consider that science ruins the towers and
breaks the bridges it has built precisely because it has found the means to
build them, that science turns "real things" (facts, logoi) into "ghost
things" (abstractions, fictions, mists, mythoi) precisely because it has
achieved the means of discovering "real things?" These questions and others
like them must lead to other essays, and those essays in turn to further
studies, until the meaning of Ada disappears because it has been discovered,
and until the novel, like its inbred agonists, is survived by its own
Science Fiction Studies # 5 = Volume 2, Part 1 = March 1975.
* excerpts: “…one has to risk Nabokov's contempt and his charge of stupidity
in drawing up a critique to buttress one's opinions that Nabokov subscribes
to Van Veen's concepts of time and that Ada may be viewed as science
fiction. […] we could label almost all of Nabokov's narrative art as SF; but
to do so would be specious and would obscure the point that Nabokov loathes,
not SF, with which he clearly has an affinity, but routine SF […] [Ada] does
not resemble SF, but it may be studied as being of that genre or kind,
especially if the study centers on that SF element which, for the sake of
convenience, we may term "eversion." The term would denote a double reversal
or a turning-inside-out; and Ada's eversions of time, earth, and sexual
gender can be called, respectively, "transtemporality,"
"transterrestriality," and "transsexuality. […] Broadly speaking, serious
science fiction offers analogies to the first man and the last man from the
paleontology and teleology of humankind; and it may compound this challenge
to academic thinking, as Ada does, by everting the analogies or by
subjecting them to other forms of ‘version’ […] In Nabokov's Ada human
concepts, notably those of the first and last man and woman, are everted.
The sense of this may be that man (the species) creates himself in his own
concepts, that he gains an understanding of his own concepts by turning them
inside out, that he uncreates himself by this turning-inside-out, and that
he is ultimately survived by his own concepts, which, in themselves, are not
destroyed by eversion […] The childless Ada and Van are survived by their
concepts of their love on earth and in time. Nabokov's conspectus is that
each human being is psychologically both male and female and is both
physically human and spiritually divine: each human being is a Tiresian

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