Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026285, Sat, 11 Jul 2015 13:04:11 -0300

Length And Line Numbers? A coincidence?
JM: Just to report an interesting VN coincidence. [ ] I’ve only read the first paragraph of one of its chapters, by Brian McHale: “Affordances of Form in Stanzaic Narrative Poetry” [ ] Narrative, Interrupted- the Plotless, the Disturbing and the Trivial in Literature. Edited by Markku Lehtimäki, Laura Kartunen, Maria Mäkelä. 2012Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston. <http://www.degruyter.com> www.degruyter.com

PS: The link between the chapter and the book I recently mentioned here, with V.Nabokov and the VN-L, may not be immediately clear. This is why I think it’s better to offer more details now (and the chapters that refer more directly to V.N are underlined) :
Contents: Preface -- The still waters of narrative: the boring and the plotless. James Phelan: Conversational and authorial disclosure in the dialogue novel: the case of The friends of Eddie Coyle -- Matti Hyvärinen: Resistance to plot and uneven narrativity: a journey from "a boring story" to The rings of Saturn -- Bo Pettersson: What happens when nothing happens: interpreting narrative technique in the plotless novels of Nicholson Baker -- Laura Karttunen: Events can be quoted (and words need not be) -- Samuli Hägg: Pynchon's poetics of boredom: cognitive and textual aspects of novelistic dreariness -- A web of sense: interpreting the disturbing and the difficult. David Herman: Toward a zoonarratology: storytelling and species difference in animal comics -- Markku Lehtimäki: Watching a tree grow: Terrence Malick's The new world and the nature of cinema -- Maria Mäkelä: Navigating "making sense" interpreting (the reader behind La jalousie) -- Mari Hatavara: History impossible: narrating and motivating the past -- Jan Alber: Unnatural temporalities: interfaces between postmodernism, science fiction, and the fantastic -- Sanna Katariina Bruun: The imperfect is our paradise: intertextuality and fragmentary narration in Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace -- Jakob Lothe: Fragile narrative situations: Conrad compared to Sebald – […]
Shadow of a tail: problems of authorship. Leona Toker: Name change and author avatars in Varlam Shalamov and Primo Levi -- Marina Grishakova: Stranger than fiction, or, Jerome David Salinger, author of Lolita: real, implied and fictive authorship -- Hannu Tommola: Translators, scoundrels and gentlemen of honor: problems of Nabokov's loyalty -- Brian McHale: Affordances of form in stanzaic narrative poetry -- Gennady Barabtarlo: A shadow on the marble.

Brian McHale “uses Nabokov’s translation of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin to develop his theory about narrative in poetry. In his article McHale characterizes some of the typical interactions btween stanza form and narrative articulation in several types of stanzaic poems and suggests how poets may use specific lyrical strategic to achieve particular narrative effects.” And I was amused by what may have been a deliberate insertion by the EDs, but could also be an accident (I doubt that!). See, the third part of the collection, with the heading “Shadow of a tail”, is presented by the editors and it finishes saying that: “This is a narrative interrupted in the true sense of the term [“it examines ToOL], and Barabtarlo’s virtuosistic analysis of it provides a coda for the present volume.” (Preface, XIV/XV).
Not only “a coda” brings up “a tail,” but, if I’m not mistaken, it was G. Barabtarlo who examined in detail the squirrels in Pnin. Squirrel actually means “shadow-tailed” (from the Greek skiouros).
But it’ll take a long time and effort before I’ll be able to reach this final chapter…


Another subject: A friend quoted Henri Poincaré and I was instantly reminded of VN’s opening lines in Speak, Memory (there are hundreds of variations worth assembling together ):La pensée n'est qu'un éclair au milieu d'une longue nuit. Mais c'est cet éclair qui est tout. “Thought is only a flash between two long nights, but this flash is everything”. - Henri Poincare' and “…our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.” V.Nabokov, Speak, Memory.

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