NABOKV-L post 0026956, Wed, 20 Apr 2016 14:17:54 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] Spring in Fialta
Continuation of former posting:

"Every time I had met her during the fifteen years of our—well, I fail to find the precise term for our kind of relationship—she had not seemed to recognize me at once" ...
JM: I ... agree ...that Vasiliy (Victor), who narrates the story, is not the author's self-portrait. In certain ways the obnoxious Ferdinand, as described by Victor, has some of the qualities V.Nabokov finds in a good-writer and, probably, himself. Cf.: "Another theory is that Nabokov is mocking himself – that Ferdinand embodies all of the author’s own traits, in a comically exaggerated manner. Nabokov hated literary criticism, as does Ferdinand. Nabokov is also known for his complex prose; he is, like Ferdinand, "a weaver of words" who writes about the fictional in what is occasionally a nearly "unintelligible" way." <>

Jansy Mello: My access to a wide bibliography related to V.Nabokov is very limited. However, two distinct evaluations of "Spring in Fialta" seem to fit the subject raised by AS in a manner that, I hope, will stimulate more informed participants to discuss it.

In a 2005 study about "Sprinc in fialta" found in the internet [ <> ] its author, Roy Johnson, emphasizes V.Nabokov's use of two of his favorite devices in it, namely, the Double and the Unreliable Narrator. For Johnson, "Victor’s account of Ferdinand, Nina’s husband, also raises doubts about the reliability of his judgement. He is quite clearly jealous [ ] and yet the description of his technique as a writer is clearly designed to let the reader see him in a favourable light.Victor’s judgement of this skill is peevish and philistine [ ] He later pours scorn on certain literary techniques, and even though he subsequently admits that none of it is relevant to Ferdinand, the smear sticks.//There are in fact elements of the Double at work here – reflected in the fact that they dress in very similar clothes and their prose styles are not unalike.[ ] There is an additional complication in the fact that Ferdinand is also something of a portrait of Nabokov himself. He is given the same appearance, he writes in a foreign language and enjoys puns, and he has the same lofty and mocking literary manner. But this detail is best left to those like Field who wish to read biographical significance into it (Field-VN,p.163)."

In his 1993 chapter from Nabokov's Art of Memory and European Modernism, John Burt Foster Jr. examines Victor's "scorn on certain literary techniques" (Roy Johnson) under a different light. It seems to me that instead of "the Double," what Victor reveals is the author's divided vision concerning avant-garde art and political allegiances, traditional Russia and present-day Europe ( JBForster Jr. mentions "a rift", "divided loyalties", "unresolved duality" and "literary identity").

"Nabokov cannot object to the basic project of trying to outdo past art, only to an exagerated one-sidedness in pursuing that project [ ]such one-sidedness would exclude the countermovement of memory" [ ] Writing to E.Wilson [NWL,67) V.Nabokov remarks that "Pushkin never broke the skeleton of tradition - he merely rearranged its inner organs - with less showy but more vital results."[ ] .The essentially modernist pursuit of the new against the old requires a surgical lightness of touch that differs strikingly from the heavy-handed interventions of the avant-garde." [ ]" 'Spring in Fialta' suggests Nabokov's divided loyalties during a time of major changes in his literary identity. The town itself reflects this ambivalence [ ] This unresolved duality reappears in victor's impressions of Nina herself, summed up in two composite images with different cultural implications." <> Nabokov's Art of Memory and European Modernism by <> John Burt Foster Jr. -

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