NABOKV-L post 0014329, Sun, 10 Dec 2006 06:26:16 EST

Re: VN: the American

When he was already an American writer
Thinking about the enthusiasm with which VN has been appropriated as an “
American” writer has prompted me, though no mathematician, to do some
calculating. VN lived for 78/79 years. Of these, he spent 18 in Russia, 19 in America,
and 42 in Europe --- Germany, England, France, Switzerland. Can we hope for a
third biography: VN: The European Years? The Americanization of VN seems
to me akin to the conversion of Anglo-Saxon into Old English, by the OED, in
the years running up to the Great War: linguistically disreputable, and a most
deplorable academic chauvinism.
Maybe his story had been ghosted into English by another person, perhaps the
noble paraphrast, Conmal
It has dawned on me that Sirin’s ghost was not Conmal in person, but one or
other of his two research assistants, either the hefty LeBrev, usually known
as “Guts”, or a lesser vassal, Steve Blurg.
Jerry’s suggestion that “zesty” might be at home in Madison Avenue gave me
some pause, when suddenly the gates of perception opened wide, and I saw it
all, YES, in glittering letters, ten foot tall: !ZESTY! --- that cup of
morning bliss --- brings your teeth to life --- your regular bowl of flakes ---
dogs bark for it --- cats scratch for it --- puts vim in your man --- AND, for
the morning after: what better bote than a glass of sparkling Alka-ZESTY!

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