NABOKV-L post 0017175, Sat, 11 Oct 2008 15:41:10 -0300

Re: THOUGHTS: Terra and Antiterra and ADA
J.A.: [...] I'm not entirely sure why I think Ada doesn't quite succeed [...].somewhere after Part one, after we're banished from Ardis, the book really sags[...] we're left with is a growing sense of aesthetic polemicism [...] like Nabokov's elbowing Van out of the way to get his own points in, about translation, about the correct pronunciation of Lolita, about how Freud was wrong about the meaning of dreams[...] fancily stylized[...] You do realize that you have tacitly acceded my point. My reading is right, you're saying, the difference is you like what I'm calling a flaw [...] Ada's such a funky fantasy infernal girl that we can never quite believe in her, maybe we're not meant to.
S.K-Bootle:VN and his readers should not use the word "infinite" without due care & attention. The gap between a finite set (however large) and even the smallest infinite set (aleph-0) is ... beyond belief We logicians read V as "OR"; tipped over to ^ it becomes "AND"; on its side we get > (greater than) and < (less than), where the direction of "vanishing" (getting smaller) IS SELF-EVIDENT[...] And we still haven't plumbed the depths of Pythagorean numerology where V = 5, the number of regular Platonic polyhedra. These really are the comic-cosmic symmetrical building blocks of the whole spatial shebang.
[...] If I recall correctly without a-googling, our A evolved via the Phoenician from the Egyptian hieroglyph for an ox's head which happened to have a name starting with an A sound.

JM: JA, indeed! I tacitly acceded your point, with the addition of "probably" or "apparently" to begin to diverge anew.
My likes and dislikes are neither technical nor "literary" like in your awesome list of flaws.
Stan, I count myself among those who stop counting after number three and frantically move their fingers to signal infinities of "many- manies".
Without agoogling I dare bring up your fellow R.L.Gregory's image of an "Horus-Eye" as the source for the representation of numbers and fractions. Egyptian-goddess Isis must have collected a de-finite set of scattred pieces of Osiris before the couple could produce Horus...

Logicians are great inspirers of "thoughticons" ( V> < , no W ) to see... a world in a grain of sand? Now what about holding "Infinity in the palm of your hand?"
Here is a sample of verbal transformations that testify to VN's pains concerning "an infinity of sensation and thought within a finite existence".
In Strong Opinions Nabokov describes "a boy and a girl, standing on a bridge above the reflected sunset, and there are swallows skimming by, and the boy turns to the girl and says to her, "Tell me, will you always remember that swallow? - not any kind of swallow, not those swallows, there, but that particular swallow that skimmed by?" And she says, "Of course I will," and they both burst into tears."
There is a less pungent variant in TRLSK - for it isV's trivial imagination, not SK's, who addresses Clare Bishop:" I would have said: 'Let us not talk of Sebastian. Let us talk of Paris. Do you know it well? Do you remember those pigeons? Tell me what you have been reading lately.... And what about films? Do you still lose your gloves, parcels?'."
[ V had been present when SK and Clare saw a flock of smelly birds metamorphose into stone, wing and into a "fancily stylized" cold register:'Far too many pigeons,' she said, as we reached the kerb[...] The groan of a motor-lorry ...sent the birds wheeling across the sky[...]. They settled among the pearl-grey and black frieze of the Arc de Triomphe and when some of them fluttered off again it seemed as if bits of the carved entablature were turned into flaky life. A few years later I found that picture, 'that stone melting into wing', in Sebastian's third book.]

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors:,
Visit Zembla:
View Nabokv-L policies:
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:"

Manage subscription options: