Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026190, Wed, 20 May 2015 02:24:03 -0300

Throwing Rocks quote : amends
Jay Livingston: "The episode of "Happyish" that Jansy Mello spotted a few
days ago, the one with the title "Starring Vladimir Nabokov, Hippocrates and
God," had one fleeting reference [ ]

"But why can't we give them real problems? And I'm not saying that, you
know, J. J. should get cancer or that Mom should discover that she's got
early-onset Alzheimer's or something like that."
"But what I'm saying is Nabokov says you put the characters up in a tree and
then you throw rocks at 'em, right? I mean, look, they want reality, let's
give 'em reality, huh?"

Where did Nabokov say this?

Jansy Mello: I feel a little responsible for having mentioned "Happyish" at
the VN-List ( but it was worth to try). This is why I looked for something
related to this reference as an amend and, during my search, I found a link
with the transcripts of the aforementioned episode with another entry with a
Nabokov quote. That one was easy to find ( I mean, a set of similar words,
not really a quote): C.K in Pale Fire.*

102. Oh, boy. Thom's voice: "Dear Jesus," Nabokov wrote, "do something." Oh,
shit! I'm so sorry. It's okay, honey. Don't worry. (Read more at:

I finally remembered where I'd read something about the creation of a
"literary hero". "Despair", chapter one, Hermann Hermann's words ( I don't
think Nabokov would have fully agreed):

" An author's fondest dream is to turn the reader into a spectator; is this
ever attained? The pale organisms of literary heroes feeding under the
author's supervision swell gradually with the reader's lifeblood; so that
the genius of a writer consists in giving them the faculty to adapt
themselves to that-not very appetizing-food and thrive on it, sometimes for


* Lines 47-48: the frame house between Goldsworth and Wordsmith

".the prisonlike edifice containing our classrooms and offices (to be called
from now on Shade Hall), the famous avenue of all the trees mentioned by
Shakespeare, a distant droning sound, the hint of a haze, the turquoise dome
of the Observatory, wisps and pale plumes of cirrus, and the
poplar-curtained Roman-tiered football field, deserted on summer days except
for a dreamy-eyed youngster flying - on a long control line in a droning
circle - a motor-powered model plane.

Dear Jesus, do something."

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