NABOKV-L post 0014299, Thu, 7 Dec 2006 02:00:40 -0200

S K-B wrote to Alexey:.."it takes quite a piling up of non-causally-related Koestlerian events to ASTONISH this jaded Statistician!... BUT, being an 'undivided monist' like VN, I EXPECT such co-incidents in a tightly co-integrated world. Our (VN's and mine!) cosmic-comic God (unlike Einstein's) does play games-of-chance: word-golf with LOADED dice!

JM: There is a reason (an authorial Godhead) behind coincidence when you play with LOADED dice.
What is tightly co-integrated, the world or the languages we employ?

S K-B: We discussed the 'memorability' of VN's writings...Clearly, when VN sticks his gear-lever in P for Poetic, his words are more easily etched in our minds. In fact, poetry is often characterized as 'memorable prose.'... Claude Shannon's that which 'reduces our uncertainty'... We are left to ponder WHY poetry is so 'memorable' when each unrolling word/phrase is presumably fresh, cliché-free, and unexpected - and therefore packed with 'information' -- and therefore more taxing to memorize?

JM: There are distinct memorabilities and there are different kinds of memories. I hardly ever "evoke" a special line in a poem, but I may still "recognize" it and go on with the recitation, or find any discrepancy in what I'm reading.
Do you really hold that " memorable prose"?

CHW to W. Dane [while referring to the early work as "verse" he does not seem to be denigrating it.] and, perhaps indirectly, to S K-B [ ...Offhand, Milton, Marvel, Johnson come to mind. Moreover, they did not have Webster to instruct them." ]
I never personally suggested that "verse" was to be denigrated, qua verse...It is easier to manufacture verse; poetry requires inspiration. I have also suggested that true poetry is ultimately the product of an intimate love-affair between the poet and his mother-tongue. In VN's case I think he felt very deeply this loss of his native language...True poetry is rare: VN remarks on his own "meagre" production...VN had most thoroughly digested Carroll's "Poeta fit non nascitur"... he had become highly conscious of the undeniable truth of that well-known aphorism, in reverse."

JM: Iha ( I humbly agree) - and I could have kept quiet if I hadn't wanted to bring up the above again...

AS to Abdellah Bouazza: Kinboot, -bute, -bot. A wergeld or man-boot paid by a homicide to the kin of the person slain...The Russian equivalent of "kinboot" is vira...close to both "Vyra" (the name of VN's family estate) and "Vera" (the name of his wife). It is also close to the Latin vir.
JM: What do you mean by "an equivalent" or by a sound that "is close to"?

AS: May I switch to another subject and ask you a question about "Camera obscura." Didn't you (or anyone else on the List) read it by chance? The book is said to be a Dutch classic that Marx ...had been reading in order to learn Dutch.
JM: Is there any relation bt. your request and Uncle Dan's reading habits in "Ada"?

Matthew Roth commented on "Charles' useful post" ..."adjectives ending in "y" caused me
to immediately conjure a truly, I think, bad line from Milton's Lycidas--a line which happens to include one of John Shade's chosen y words: "With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves..."
Ugh! Not only is the image unintentionally comic, it also demonstrates that tendency to pad the pentameter line with two syllable adjectives, which Charles also noted a while back.
[ Recently A. Bouazza wrote: "VN's adjectival precision and aptness have no rival imfb (in my firm belief).]
JM: Adjectives, like "pure", may be like blind-alleys in that they don't induce or create a sensation."Oozy locks", though, are efficiently evocative.
May I venture to suggest that, because long poems demand a lot of "padding", genius may reside in "adjectival precision"?

Search the archive:
Contact the Editors:,
Visit Zembla:
View Nabokv-L policies: