Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026323, Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:00:26 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] Literary Hoaxes in Ada and Pale Fire. Gender.
A message by a Nabler who wrote to me off-list brought up an old posting* in which I pondered ( a heavy word for my superficial questioning)about VN’s words about lesbians. The posting was sent to the VN-L before I came to Hinckley’s** interview with Nabokov, from where I got this quote :

“I suggested to Nabokov that the best possible casting for Lolita might have been a teen-age Marilyn Monroe. “Well, first of all,” he replied, “Miss Monroe is one of the greatest comedy actresses of our time. She is simply superb. But the usual concept of the bosomy female does not represent sex from my point of view. Sexual appeal is far more subtle than that.” Examples? “Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo”. Although both actresses are often presented as lesbians, they also appear as bi-sexuals, like Lucette and Ada, like Van...

Unfortunately for me I’m still shamefully uninformed about modern day vocabulary and gender theories, but I think V.N’s references to bi-sexuality, fetichism, pederasty and traveslilities could be further explored, instead of the more usual focus on “paedophilia”***.


*- -----Original Message-----
From: Jansy Mello < <mailto:jansy.mello@OUTLOOK.COM> jansy.mello@OUTLOOK.COM>
Sent: Mon, Jun 22, 2015 11:23 pm
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Literary Hoaxes in Ada and Pale Fire. Gender.

V.Nabokov, in ADA, seems to be proud to describe how Van tried to spot an Anti-Terra Lesbian: “He looked her over more closely than he had done before […] slightly trembling hands, a cold-in-the-head voice, and that skidding-in-panic of the eyes if […] Nothing whatever of all that (yes — Mytilène, petite isle, by Louis Pierre) seemed to apply to Cordula, who wore a ‘garbotosh’ (belted mackintosh) over her terribly unsmart turtle and held both hands deep in her pockets as she challenged his stare.” What intrigues me, though, is why Van’s observations carry contradictions (as when he doubts his first appraisal, garbotosh and all), and why he chose Pierre Louÿs’ Bilitis to dwell on poems that purported to be translations from a 7th century BC Greek homoerotic poet but were conceived by a XIX A.D writer.* [snip]

**Adventures in the Scribblers Trade: The Most Fun You Can Have by Neil Hickey

***- a critical comment of Downing posted at the WSJ and brought up by RS Gwynn is of interest:

De: RS GWYNN [mailto:rsgwynn1@cs.com]
Enviada em: segunda-feira, 27 de julho de 2015 11:07
Para: jansy.mello@OUTLOOK.COM
Assunto: Re: [NABOKV-L] Naturalization Papers,Wall Street Journal

Comment posted at the WSJ: "That Humbert has now become a "pederast" will doubtless provide grist for many a critical mill. Mr. Downing's mixed metaphors, his conflation of Melville with Hawthorne, and his dubiously dangling modifiers rank him as a commentator who could only have been imagined by VN himself."

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