NABOKV-L post 0017049, Sun, 14 Sep 2008 20:58:07 -0300

[NABOKOV-L] [Sighting] Roberto Calasso: La Letteratura e gli dei
In his 2001 book "La letteratura e gli dei" ( Literature and the Gods), Roberto Calasso twice mentions Nabokov. Initially, on chapter Two ("Mental Waters") in which he adds to the interesting meaning of "being ready to marry" which he finds in the word Nymphé , another one that indicates the word "fountain". Obviously, Nabokov's work is then "Lolita" and his definition of "nymphet". Calasso praises in particular one of VN's sentences: "The science of nympholepsy is a precise science." His second reference comes in the chapter titled "Absolute Literature" when he mentions Nabokov together with Baudelaire, proust, Hofmannsthal, Benn, Valéry, Audebn, Brodski, Mandel'stam, Cvetaeva, Kraus, Yeats, MOntale, Borges, Manganelli, Calvino, Canetti and Kundera. He writes that quite often these authors despise, ignore and oppose each other but that, even so, all of them "speak about the same object" under the protection of various masks. These hide and also present the special luminescence that is revealed by a word, a sentence, an entire book - for "literature is a being that is self-sufficient" and, he proceeds, they express a "reality" that must always be set inside a pair of commas which adhere to it like fangs (quoting VN).

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