Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015169, Mon, 23 Apr 2007 22:44:08 +0200

Re: BIRTHDAY: Don Quixote and VN's future acrobatics
Just a small correction to the erroneous reading of the editor in "the moist smile of feminine comparison". As the facsimile facing page of VN's MSS shows, the sentence should read "the moist smile of feminine compassion." VN's clear handwriting leaves no doubt about this.

A. Bouazza.
-----Original Message-----
From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU]On Behalf Of NABOKV-L
Sent: 23 April 2007 22:28
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] BIRTHDAY: Don Quixote and VN's future acrobatics

Prescient timing, Jansy. I’m just reading, for the first time, VN’s “Lectures on Don Quixote” (Harvest/HBJ, 1983). On the master’s birthday, I ponder his ‘Apologia pro sua Vita,’ which, of course, is not saying ‘Sorry!’

“Now, tragedy wears better than comedy. Drama endures in amber; the guffaw is dispelled in space and time. The nameless thrill of art is certainly closer to the manly shudder of sacred awe, or to the moist smile of feminine comparison, than it is to the casual chuckle; and of course in that line there is something still better than the roar of pain or the roar of laughter — and that is the supreme purr, of pleasure produced by the impact of sensuous thought -- sensuous thought — which is another term for authentic art.”

Those who simply dismiss VN as ‘anti-Cervantes,’ should note the sentence that follows his ‘definition’ of authentic art:

“Of this there is in our book [Don Quixote] a small but infinitely precious supply.”

Stan Kelly-Bootle

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