Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0017321, Sat, 15 Nov 2008 12:15:46 -0200

[NABOKOV-L] A critical view
In his annotations to ADA, B.Boyd's fleeting comments on Borges are rather prejudiced. Jusst as Nabokov's, first-hand impressions, had also been.
Apparently the best translations, mainly Borges's essays and lectures, were only printed in English after VN's decease.
Why not consider the anagram "Osberg" as simply an anagram laboring under the choices of letters contained in the name "Borges", instead of a show of erudiction that steers readers off a foreign author with unwarranted disdain? Borgians, keep out please?

"Since Nabokov found Borges rather limited ("At first Véra and I were delighted by reading him. We felt we were on a portico, but we have learned that there was no house," Time, May 23, 1969, p. 83), perhaps "Osberg" suggests cold (iceberg) or aridity (a mountain, German Berg, of bones, Latin os), or may allude to the so-called Oseberg ship--a Viking ship rediscovered in 1904 at a Norwegian farm of that name-and so evoke its role as a burial ship (see Rivers and Walker 271).

Contrast Boyd's facile suggestion for "Osberg" ( perhaps "cold", "aridity") to:

"Yet it needs saying that everywhere in Borges, there is a clear need to conjugate intellect and heart in creation - that without emotion sourcing literature, with stress alone on the signifier and the fabrication of writing, his loving kind of lucidity will be irretrievably lost. Borges is wonderful at crucial distinctions in the field: compare for example his immense admiration for «Ulysses» to his respectful doubts concerning the «Wake». Many who play games with language today, provoking a true crisis of the signified, plunging ever deeper into disjunctivitis and losing dozens of readers a day both for themselves and for literature in general, might take note..." Nathaniel Tharn (jacketmagazine.com/09/tarn-r-wein-borg.html ) Review of Selected Non-Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges.

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