NABOKV-L post 0014083, Thu, 16 Nov 2006 20:15:41 -0200

Re: Gradus the automatic man;MPD; Translating PF
Gradus the automatic manCarolyn Kunin wrote:Actually Jansy, I do think that VN had the phenomenon of multiple personality in mind - - In my reading on multiple personality I found frequent references to automatic writing and other automatisms such as sleep walking in the literature on the subject.

Jansy replies: I wish it were as easy as that to reach a correct diagnosis for any kind of mental illness. Readings from a book ( which?) that gather an apparently flimsy collection of items under "MPD", among which you found "automatism", are not enough to garantee that VN had "multiple personality" in mind, nor enable us to find in Gradus, as "the automatic man", sufficient confirmation for your conclusion. Automatic writing was used by the Surrealists. It is also common in spiritualistic séances.
Concerning "sleep walking" we have many examples along various other works by Nabokov ( Transparent Things is the first to come to my mind now). Would VN have this "MPD" as source of inspiration whenever he writes "automatic" or mentions "sleep walking"? Here I must agree with those who think the entire MPD "integrationalist" theory empoverishing.

Matthey Roth asked: Are you reading the Girard/Coindreau translation? VN was indeed keenly aware of the problems of translating PF.
Jansy replies: No, I'm reading the translation into Portuguese where it becomes clear that there is no way to translate Pale Fire while taking into consideration all the elements and "marginalia". The entries under Mass/ Male, or even Waxwing, cannot follow the alphabetic order in Portuguese, without incurring in another kind of distortion. World games are also a challenge to render in another language. The translated poem has lines with subjects that demand another kind of order for Kibote's commentaries.
You read the article on the "Botfly" I recently mentioned in our List and its author also brings up the matter of VN's worries about translating PF.)

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