NABOKV-L post 0017811, Wed, 4 Mar 2009 00:33:46 -0300

Re: THOUGHTS:Donald Cammell/Pale Fire Screenplay

Sam: Donald Cammell had a powerful visual imagination, and the lesson, to me, is that his ideas stimulated Nabokov's visual imagination as well[...] his approach is best understood by referring to his most famous film, Performance, in which Jorge Luis Borges's collection, A Personal Anthology, makes an appearance. Donald was intrigued by one of the pieces in the Borges anthology, "The Enigma of Edward Fitzgerald,"[...] As Borges tells it, Fitzgerald's encounter with the poetry of Omar Khayyam was so powerful as to convince Fitzgerald that he was not merely a translator of the Persian poet's works, but that he was Omar Khayyam in a previous life [...] Borges would seem to be exploring, in parabolic fashion, the daunting mystery of artistic creation[...] Pursuing the Kinbote/Shade relationship, it seems entirely possible for an artist to treat his or her own work as a found object, by merely extending Duchamp's "readymades" tactic. What's to prevent Kinbote (Shade)-any artist-from approaching his own previous work (poem, painting) as a found object, and then use Duchamp's strategy to remotivate it? [...]Most certainly Nabokov was aware of the artistic and aesthetic strategies that began to emerge in Europe...

JM: After sending a Nabokov Sighting, extracted from a biography about Saul Steinberg, I googled for more information concerning the relation bt both artists.
I was only motivated to add it now because of Sam's reference to Duchamp's readymades and a note by Sarah Bozer (see last entry below):

Christopheer Hawtree (May 14,1999) quoted Nabokov when writing about "Saul Steinberg, his numbers, cats and brilliant drawings changed American art": " 'We have just received your magic ledger, the New World,' wrote Vladimir Nabokov to the cartoonist Saul Steinberg in 1965. 'Everything in it is a delight - the curlicues of genius, the patch on the C of Etc in the lower queue, the wonderful balancing acts of fractions, the performance of trained numerals, St George spearing the Missum or attacking the attackers of his prey, the dreamlife of wayward cubes and circles, chairs and dogs, the peacock arrows, the activities of speech balloons and question marks... ' As an account of the essence of the art of Steinberg, who has died aged 84, this can hardly be bettered.
A few days later, Tom Spurgeon (28 June 1999, "Saul Steinberg Dies") noted: "A barrage of obituaries in national magazines and newspapers, including the front page of The New York Times, lauded Steinberg as an artist on par with Picasso, Duchamp, and Daumier; and as a social critic on the level of Pirandello, Chaplin, and Nabokov."
Much later, in February 2007, there is an article by Sarah Bozer ("Drawn from life"- Artforum International): "One of the most moving works in the Morgan show is a Steinberg bookshelf filled with wooden books ostensibly by Nabokov, Gogol, and Stendhal, but, of course, constructed, decorated, and worn down by Steinberg. The books are old-world Warhols, boxes without that fresh Brillo script, cans without the Campbell's label. Yet they actually do have a recognizable label: They are all Steinbergs. And, like all Steinberg objects--maps, calendars, doodles, and passports--they are part of his biography, part of who he was or, more precisely, the things you would put in his tomb to show who he was."

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