NABOKV-L post 0017330, Mon, 17 Nov 2008 17:14:11 +1300

Re: Latin American honor and links
Obviously "Osberg" is an anagram of "Borges," but since there are 720 ways of rearranging the letters in "Borges" it seems legitimate to ask why Nabokov chose this particular anagram. My suggestions may be facile but they are not "rather prejudiced" and do not reflect my attitude to Borges (hardly relevant to explicating ADA) but, as my sentence makes clear, only Nabokov's attitude: "Since Nabokov found Borges rather limited . . . perhaps "Osberg" suggests cold (iceberg) or aridity (a mountain, German Berg, of bones, Latin os).

I did not explictily indicate my attitude to another Latin American writer, closer to home for Jansy than Borges, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, when I sent a note to Claudio de Souza Soares that suggested Machado and Nabokov were kindred spirits and Nabokov would have enjoyed Machado had he read him, and that CS placed on his fine Machado blog (at, inspired in part by ADAonline. But they can more easily be inferred from what I say there than my attitude to Borges can be from the note Jansy quotes.

Claudio Soares has written a couple of times to Nabokv-L. Readers of hypertext fiction might like to look at his extraordinary (even if I can't yet read it) novel Santos-Dumont numero 8, Alberto Santos-Dumont, Brazil's equivalent of the Wright brothers is alluded to, as Claudio points out, in Pale Fire's note to line 71, where Kimbote discusses King Alfin the Vague as an aviator: "In 1912, he managed to rise in an umbrella-like Fabre "hydroplane" and almost got drowned in the sea between Nitra and Indra. He smashed two Farmans, three Zemblan machines, and a beloved Santos Dumont Demoiselle."

Brian Boyd

From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] On Behalf Of jansymello
Sent: Sunday, 16 November 2008 3:16 a.m.
Subject: [NABOKV-L] [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 ( ) Review of Selected Non-Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges.
Search the archive<> Contact the Editors<,> Visit "Nabokov Online Journal"<>
Visit Zembla<> View Nabokv-L Policies<> Manage subscription options<>
All private editorial communications, without exception, are read by both co-editors.

Search archive with Google:

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

Manage subscription options: