Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0013372, Thu, 28 Sep 2006 10:31:59 EDT

Re: On symmetry II

In a message dated 28/09/2006 14:29:00 GMT Standard Time,
dorazander@TERRA.COM.BR writes:

A. Stadlen asked: "As a general rule, is it not crucial not to fall for the
symmetries and circularities proposed by self-absorbed narcissists like
Hermann and Kinbote? A large part of VN's challenge to the reader is not to be
seduced by such unreliable (to put it absurdly mildly) narrators..." I'm
curious to learn why A.Stadlen thinks that "symmetries and circularities" are
merely the ones we find in VN's "self-absorbed narcissists" ( A.Appel.Jr.
discussed this in relation to "an escape from solipsism").


But I don't think so. I never said this. Of course there are beautiful
symmetries in nature and art and mathematics, and real circularities as in
Finnegans Wake and VN's circular short story. But there are also unreliable ones
proposed by unreliable people, such as some of VN's narrators, who try to reduce
otherness to sameness.

VN did (in Strong Opinions, or was it Lectures on Literature, or Speak
Memory, or perhaps all three?) praise the Hegelian-dialectical spiral as something
that meant much to him. That is something different from either symmetry or

Anthony Stadlen

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