NABOKV-L post 0008882, Sat, 8 Nov 2003 18:02:09 -0800

Fw: For "Kaliban Mirvodov" fils (in English)
For "Kaliban Mirvodov" fils (in English)EDNOTE: NABOKV-L thanks Carolyn Kunin for her translation of Anatoly Livry's letter.
----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Saturday, November 08, 2003 5:27 PM
Subject: For "Kaliban Mirvodov" fils (in English)

EDNOTE: The controversial M. Livry, writer and scholar, plans to publish his book _The Nietzschean Nabokov_ in Russian. If some kindly soul wishes to translate his letter into English, NABOKV-L will run it.


Dear Mr D. Barton Johnson,

An acquaintance has sent me the posts concerning me. Allow me to respond to your readers and to Mr Dmitri Nabokov.

Of course it would be preferable that my message be translated into English because I do not wish anything to be kept from the the exclusively anglophone reader, who, however could always make an effort to understand me -- for as d'Artagnan has said "English is only badly pronounced French."

As a rule I do not participate in any kind of discussions (forums). I am a writer above all, and certain critics have even written that my talent and my style considerably surpass those of Vladimir Nabokov. But that is for the reader to judge (see the end of the message).

Nevertheless I feel myself obliged to respond to Mr Nabokov's calling me a "hooligan writer" which I take as not only an insult, but an unacceptable one.

I wish to underscore that this will be my one and only response to your forum.

Now then, my Russian works (some translated into French) have been published in Europe, in Russia, (I am not a Gaullist) and in Canada.

I did teach in the Department of Slavic Studies at the Sorbonne, and just one month after the publication of my story le Convalescent (in which I allowed myself to make some remarks concerning the slavists at this university) the head of the department told me that my post "will be offered to a professor of Bielorussian"
Initially I was rather glad, because I always disagreed with the Heideggerian opinion which says that love of wisdom speaks only Greek or German.. And I had some hope that perhaps one day, the wise men and women of the Department of Slavic Studies of the Sorbonne would dispute in Bielorussian about Plato and Aristophanes and discover profound and sacred things.

Unfortunately the head of the department was simply lying to me.

Even worse, following this, another example of the infamous conflict between "the system" and the artist started up again with renewed force. I found myself (and I am highly regarded among Nabokovians let me say) as a Cherdyntsev after the publication of his Life of Cherneshevsky. "Who is this Livry" everyone asks in the corridors of the university. "Ah, yes, he lost his tenure because of his Convalescent," my former friends say behind my back as they close the doors to their department conferences.

I have been working on the works of Nietzsche and of Nabokov and on the Greek tragedy for more than 13 years. And I am sure that the results of my research will remain unknown because, as I have been advised if I continue to publish I will never be welcome to do research anywhere.

So I have defied not only the Parisian mistresses/singers [detractors?] , but also The Convalescent itself, which in only the first year of its publication has been reprinted seven times, notably by the very prestigious Petersburg review "Neva" (no 3, 2003)

Further in regard to my scholarly work, I have only followed St. Augustine, bishop of Hippo "Insiste, anime meus" [persist, my soul?] (as the readers of Ada or Ardor will recall). Thus I have translated my previously published articles on tragedy, on Russian literature, on Nietzshe, on Maurras (I will not lower myself to engage in a discussion with Madame B. A.. Kunin [M. A., actually] who displays a flagrant lack of understanding of the history of ideas in France) and have presented them to the Department of Hellenic studies at the Sorbonne.

It was there that my concepts of Antiquity and German philosophy and their influence on Russian writers, notably on Nabokov, were accepted. You may read my article "The Future of the Socratic man in Turgenev" in the last "Bulletin de l'Association Guillaume Bude" (Paris-Sorbonne), refused by the Actes de Colloques d'Etudes Slaves six months after the publication of The Convalescent.

In the next issue of the review published by French hellenists you may read my article "Nabokov the Anti-democrat confronts the Socialist Riffraff," an article I did not even bother to bring to the attention of the Parisian Nabokovians.

However, the article that I just mentioned is only one part of my monograph which should appear in Russian in St. Petersburg in December 2003. It will be published by Alethea (which no longer is affiliated with" Pravda").

If your Russian is good, you may request a copy of this work directly from the author (, which will allow you to bypass the post-socialist uncertainties of the Russian post.

I would like to stress also that I have already discussed on several occasions the subjects of my research and the affair of The Convalescent on radio in Paris and on French and European television. Notably today, November 8 at 8 pm (Paris time) you may hear an interview of me over Radio France Internationale. Following the broadcast, the interview may be heard at the site

Before I take my leave, I wish to let you know that the sequel to The Convalescent will be published and presented by Madame Margarita Meklina (recipient of the Andrey Bely Prize for 2001).

Here is the story Skazka: