NABOKV-L post 0017128, Wed, 1 Oct 2008 15:47:55 +0100

Re: Nabokov shares with Chekhov a fanatical eye for detail ...
Sandy/Jansy: I¹m both proud and ashamed that I knew the French slang for
³lap dog² when I was 10 years old, some years before I discovered the
literal meaning of ³lecheur con.²

The ³deep² significance of ³coincidences² continues to intrigue. Koestler
and Whitehead have clarified some of the mysteries of ³real-life²
coincidences using plausible probability estimates. E,g,, you are thinking
of someone, and then that someone phones you. Or you dream of someone who
has just dropped dead 4000 miles away. (Whitehead would point out the large
number of people you dream about who have not dropped dead!) Or that in a
group of 20, it¹s more likely than not that 2 share the same birthday! The
difficult thing for HomSaps to accept is that many of the things that happen
have very small, even zero prior probabilities. Don your logic hard-hats and
listen up: all impossible events have zero probability, but some zero
probability events do happen. We mathematicians have the useful term
³vanishingly small.² If I ask you to think of an integer, the prior
probability of your particular, actual choice is strictly zero, unless I say
³think of an integer between 1 and 10,000,000.²

You could argue that in fiction you are free to invent an event (what d¹you
make of that rhyme?!) of varying probabilities betweeen 0 and 1, but since
you have left the realm of actualities, it becomes difficult to estimate or
even define ³probability.² In the real world we can in principle estimate
the fraction of real outcomes to potential outcomes. In a novel, we can
ditch causal chains, and, as in VN¹s Invitation to a Beheading or Prospero¹s
Tempest, just make the pageant disappear. That¹s quite a coincidence, nein?

Stan Kelly-Bootle

On 29/09/2008 23:43, "jansymello" <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote:

> Sandy Klein sent excerpts from
> <>
> , under `Quaintly Circumstantial'
> In Are You There, Crocodile?: Inventing Anton Chekhov, Michael Pennington
> lovingly describes his visit to Melikhovo[...]thrilled to have stood on the
> steps where the dandyish-looking Chekhov was famously photographed holding
> Quinine, his dachshund: Bromide had a grandson named Box II (for unexplained
> reasons) that a few years later became the pet of Vladimir Nabokov. Box II
> ended his days in Prague with Nabokov¹s widowed mother. In Speak, Memory,
> Nabokov describes his dachshund in his final days as ³an émigré dog in a
> patched and ill-fitting coat.² Pennington picks up the Chekhov/Nabokov
> connection.[..]coincidences, however abhorrent in art, are reality¹s
> consolation prizes.
> Dachs must have been favourites among artists. Victor Hugo's grandson had a
> dachs, called "Lolita" and he once dressed her up to meet Picasso's dachs,
> "Lump", as a "bride". Here are the images and short text:

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