NABOKV-L post 0017146, Fri, 3 Oct 2008 22:36:59 -0700

Re: THOUGHTS: Similar image in Bend Sinister and Nadja

--- (as it seems to me) views on “Art, Its Methods and Purpose.” A quick google indicates much activity in this direction, employing postmodernist  language beyond my immediate comprehension!

JM:Continuing along the thread spun by R.Meibos [ "perhaps Nabokov was paying a subtle homage to another modernist"], from PNIN: "To the latest issue of the school magazine Victor had contributed a poem about painters, over the nom de guerre Moinet [...] He dreamed of mellowing his pigments as the Old Masters had done [...] What did it matter to him that gentle chiaroscuro, offspring of veiled values and tOn Fri, 10/3/08, jansymello <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote:

From: jansymello <jansy@AETERN.US>
Subject: [NABOKV-L] THOUGHTS: Similar image in Bend Sinister and Nadja

PF:But whatever happens, wherever the scene is laid, somebody, somewhere, will quietly set out — somebody has already set out, somebody still rather far away is buying a ticket, is boarding a bus, a ship, a plane, has landed, is walking toward a million photographers, and presently he will ring at my door — a bigger, more respectable, more competent Gradus.
Lolita: I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita. oblong puddle invariably acquiring the same form after every shower because of the constant spatulate shape of a depression in the ground. Possibly, something of the kind may be said to occur in regard to the imprint we leave in the intimate texture of space. Twang. A good night for mothing.
This was a very good idea, putting the ends next to each other this way.  You're right, there's definitely an elegaic sort of fading away Quality. Let's see if I can find that Alfred Appel interview: Appel asks, "Ideally, how should a reader experience or react to 'the end' of one of your novels, that moment when the vectors are removed and the fact of the ficition is underscored, the cast dismissed? What common assumptions about literature are you assaulting?" Nabokov's response is, "The question is so charmingly phrased that I  would love to answer it with equal elegance and eloquence, but I cannot say very much. I think that what I would welcome at the close of a book of mine is a sensation of its world receding in the distance and stopping somewhere there, suspended afar like a picture in a picture:  The Artist's Studio by Van Bock." Appel notes he could not find this artist. Pg.  73 of the McCraw-Hill book company 1973 edition of Strong
Opinions. This seems like it relates to what you're saying. Appel in that interview suggests that Nabokov's books destroy their illusions at the end and sort of dissolve. He was so stuck on the idea of Self-reflexivity in Nabokov's work that he tended to see everything N. wrote in terms of parodying the "realism" of the illusionary in fiction, which is undeniable on one level but not strictly applicable I think; also it seems like the self-reflexive thing, and the endings you bring up, suggest a blurring of personality and perspective--the characters and narrators of the novels seem to lose a sense of themselves as discrete beings and feel themselves dissolving. In Bend Sinister this done with a heavy hand. It's most subtle in Lolita, and curiously similiar in Pale Fire and The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, where the characters seem to be right on the verge of recognizing that they are projections of Nabokov, but don't quite

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