NABOKV-L post 0017134, Thu, 2 Oct 2008 00:22:02 -0300

Re: Nabokov's famous formulation about literature ...
Re: [NABOKV-L] Nabokov's famous formulation about literature ...Stan K-B: One thing has always puzzled me: the quintessential Aesop fable has anthropomorphic animals in ALL the roles [...] The later date for the fable suggests La Fontaine (1621 - 1694) the great French fabulist who regularly included humans in his tales
[...]To recap the yarn: on the boy's first "Cry wolf" the farmers have no reason to doubt him until the truth emerges, viz., false alarm.[...] It's the boy-liar who suffers on the rare occasion when he's not lying...
JM:Great point about the differences bt. Aesop/La Fontaine. Wasn't Victor joking about how, for example, a single political statement on TV may now sway the world's economical balance?

Joseph Aisenberg [ on Can anyone ellucidate me about the meaning of VN's expression, then, his "fugal theme"? A fugue ( as in "fugitive") carries us back into "escape"!] I know what you mean about how a fugue doesn't seem like how Glory works [...] One problem I've always had with this book is that the result of it, Glory, seems at odds with what Nabokov claims his intention was, to create a story about a romantic young man who sets off on a great glorious exploit[...] Nabokov has somehow tried to meld his idea of the nonutilitarian glories of artistic discovery with that of an actual real life adventure, though what comes out seems to be ironic: no one in the book thinks Martin is as romantic as he feels[...] The book seems more like a vortex sucking everything into oblivion than it does a fugue[...] we are being pushed to believe[ that Martin] finally disappeared himself[...] surely N. doesn't mean to suggest that Martin has somehow tripped into a tranparent phantomic realm?
JM: Like you, I think that Glory seems at odds with what VN claimed his intention was. His memories and reveries seem to have overwhelmed what he'd planned to express. I conjectured about musical "recursive themes" but, more emphatically, of a painting's "fugal point". And yet, I find strong recurrent links bt "Glory" and VN's early ecstatic short-stories, "Gods" in particular [ We walk against the wind along imposing fences. On the same kind of sunny, tremulous day as this we'll head back north, to Russia... When, beyond the curve, my heart is jabbed by the firs, the red sand, the corner of the house, I shall totter and fall prone.]
I'd forgotten that, right in the first page, we get a description of a dachshund when we read about Martin's grand-father, white Edelweiss: "the complexity of heliography accounted for the weightiness and solidity of Grandfather's manly poses [...] on a striped veranda seat, with a black dachshund that had refused to sit still, and had come out with three tails in the photograph[...]" We also learn that Martin's own father was a doctor, like Chekhov, and he died ("bloated and short-of unclear circumstances") in the same year that the entire photo-album and envelopping country house went up in flames, in 1918.

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