NABOKV-L post 0026837, Fri, 29 Jan 2016 01:08:51 -0500

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http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2016/01/28/a-loaded-deck-and-other-news/

​"​
There’s been plenty of attention paid to Nabokov’s recently collected
letters to his wife, Véra—but why hasn’t anyone told me before now that he
used those letters to chronicle everything he’d eaten for the day? The
Nabokov diet, writes Nina Martyris, was hardly gourmet: “Nabokov kept his
promise of sending her a daily bulletin, which included a scrupulous
itemization of his meals. Listing every meal he ate was clearly a drudgery,
but he hurried on with it by squashing the menu between parentheses: ‘(A
couple of meatballs—cold-cuts, sausage, radishes)’; ‘(cold-cuts, fried
eggs, a cold meatball)’; or ‘(liver and gooseberry jelly—a sort of frog
caviar).’ Occasionally, there was a dry barb: ‘incomprehensible meat,’ and
more rarely, a stab of praise, ‘magnificent blueberry soup.’ But mostly it
was a boring plod of cold cuts and compotes.”
​"​

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ON THE SHELF <http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/category/on-the-shelf/>
A Loaded Deck, and Other News

January 28, 2016 | by Dan Piepenbring
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/author/dpiepenbring/>
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/theworldinplay.jpg>

Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

- It feels like only yesterday that I was lugging my hardcover of
*2666 *around
town, regularly having my mind blown on subway cars, buses, park benches,
et cetera. Imagine how much easier it would’ve been to have that experience
in one prolonged five-hour session at the theater! Robert Falls and Seth
Bockley are bringing Bolaño’s opus to the stage next month, at the Goodman
Theatre
<http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/31/theater/2666-a-most-difficult-novel-takes-the-stage.html?ref=arts&mtrref=undefined>:
“The play is being presented with three intermissions. To keep things
moving, Mr. Falls and Mr. Bockley boiled the novel down to essential
characters and story lines, though they would periodically restore some of
the stories-within-stories-within-stories, like the tale of a painter who
attaches his mummified hand to a self-portrait … The directors and the
design team worked to create a distinct style for each of the five parts,
keyed to the radically different literary genres Mr. Bolaño drew on: fairy
tale, hard-boiled crime novel, academic satire, lyrical short story, *Don
Quixote*–style picaresque.”
- Meanwhile, in Chile: Ariel Lewiton is on the hunt for Neruda’s
ghost. “Isla
Negra was the home Neruda loved best
<https://catapult.co/stories/ghosts-of-chile>, the one for which he’d
written: *The house … I don’t know when it was born in me … For the
first time I felt the prick of the scent of the winter sea—a mixture of
laurel and salty sand, seaweed and thistle, struck me*. It was here I
believed I would finally find Neruda … I had not thought to bring flowers.
I walked past the grave to where the hill gave way to the sea. At the
shore, waves thrashed the rocks. I took off my shoes and waded out from the
land. The water was so cold it burned and I stood there for a while with
the ocean biting at my ankles.”
- And while we’re focusing on the Spanish language, Janet Hendrickson
has translated entries from the letter *a *in a seventeenth-century
Spanish dictionary
<http://www.theguardian.com/books/translation-tuesdays-by-asymptote-journal/2016/jan/26/translation-tuesday-the-letter-a-from-a-17th-century-spanish-dictionary>.
Among the words: *apio *(celery), “the symbol of sadness and weeping”;
*alba *(dawn), “What is that? Nothing but the dawn as it walks among the
cabbages”; and*andrógeno *(hermaphrodite), “Some say that women have
three wombs on the right and three on the left and one in the middle; some
wombs create males, the others females, and the one in the middle
hermaphrodites. And others attribute even more wombs to women, and many
allow for none of this.”
- Did you know? Between long bouts of poverty, disease, and
malnutrition, people in the Middle Ages occasionally had fun. They did this
by playing cards, mainly. And you should see these cards, on display now at
the Cloisters Museum here in New York: “The decks on view are often
beautiful, and sometimes poetic; a number are humorous and a few downright
bawdy <http://www.economist.com/node/21689170/>. For instance, on one
card (pictured above) a woman with long blonde braids sits on a stool
milking a grumpy cow—which on inspection proves to be a bull. Another
portrays a woman passing a phallic-looking tree on her way to market. One
hand balances the basket of geese on her head, the other lifts her long
skirt above her knee. Geese are not all that is for sale.”
- There’s been plenty of attention paid to Nabokov’s recently collected
letters to his wife, Véra—but why hasn’t anyone told me before now that he
used those letters to chronicle everything he’d eaten for the day? The
Nabokov diet, writes Nina Martyris, was hardly gourmet: “Nabokov kept his
promise of sending her a daily bulletin, which included a scrupulous
itemization of his meals. Listing every meal he ate was clearly a drudgery,
but he hurried on with it by squashing the menu between parentheses: ‘(A
couple of meatballs—cold-cuts, sausage, radishes)’; ‘(cold-cuts, fried
eggs, a cold meatball)’; or ‘(liver and gooseberry jelly—a sort of frog
caviar).’
<http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/26/464343304/lolita-and-lollipops-what-nabokov-had-to-say-about-nosh>
Occasionally,
there was a dry barb: ‘incomprehensible meat,’ and more rarely, a stab of
praise, ‘magnificent blueberry soup.’ But mostly it was a boring plod of
cold cuts and compotes.”

TAGS Roberto Bolaño <http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/roberto-bolano/>
, theater <http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/theater/>, food
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/food/>, Vladimir Nabokov
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/vladimir-nabokov/>, Spanish
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/spanish/>, Pablo Neruda
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/pablo-neruda/>, adaptations
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/adaptations/>, Chile
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/chile/>,Middle Ages
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/middle-ages/>, dictionaries
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/dictionaries/>, 2666
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/2666/>, plays
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/plays/>, Goodman Theater
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/goodman-theater/>, Janet Hendrickson
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/janet-hendrickson/>, playing cards
<http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/tag/playing-cards/>

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