NABOKV-L post 0007141, Sat, 23 Nov 2002 19:26:19 -0800

Subject
Fw: Fw: Hitchens//Herzen/VN
Date
Body
----- Original Message -----
From: "Sergej Aksenov" <aksenov@onetel.net.uk>
To: "Vladimir Nabokov Forum" <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> ----------------- Message requiring your approval (83
lines) ------------------
>
> > EDNOTE. I don't know where the formidable Mr. Hitchens got his bit of
> > Nabokoviana from. Can anyone provide the source?
>
>
> The only bit that comes to my mind (generally not burdened by useful
> factual information) is VN's caption to the photograph of his house in
> Morskaya. Morskaya street was renamed Hertzen street after the Revolution.
> Noting this, VN adds that "Biloe i Dumi" ("The Past and Thoughts") was
> "one of my father's favourite books".
>
> This photograph follows p.122 in my Penguin edition of "Speak, Memory".
>
> As to VN's attitude to Hertzen's writing, Andrew Field reports that "in
one
> of his _New Republic_ reviews, for example, he scoffed at Alexander Herzen
> when, in writing about England in the nineteenth century, he confused the
> words _bugger_ and _beggar_." (p.216 of "The Life and Art of VN".)
>
> Sergej
>
>
> On Saturday, November 23, 2002, at 05:23 , D. Barton Johnson wrote:
>
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: Dasa Duhacek
> > To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
> > Sent: Friday, November 22, 2002 1:09 PM
> > Subject: Hitchens//Herzen/VN
> >
> > Just for the record. Cheers, Ranko Mastilovic
> >
> >
> > The Atlantic Monthly | December 2002
> >
> > BOOKS & CRITICS
> > BOOKS
> >
> > EDNOTE. I don't know where the formidable Mr. Hitchens got his bit of
> > Nabokoviana from. Can anyone provide the source? Stoppard, of course,
is,
> > like VN, a Slav who writes brilliant English prose.
> > ---------------------------------------------
> >
> > A Nine-Hour Resurrection
> >
> > Alexander Herzen, Marx's rival and Tolstoy's
> > nonfiction counterpart, enjoys a well-deserved return to center stage
> > in Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia
> >
> > by Christopher Hitchens
> >
> > [...]By a smaller irony, Herzen's nemesis was someone whose character
> > and temperament he held in some esteem. Mikhail Bakunin, the
> > charismatic anarchist and internationalist, was a colossal figure in
> > those days, appearing not to know the meaning of fear, let alone
prudence.
> > In 1862 Herzen, rather against his better judgment, allowed himself to
> > be persuaded that a revolution in oppressed Poland might help to ignite
> > a sympathetic uprising in Russia. But Bakunin's hectic and irresponsible
> > adventurism—marvelously captured by E. H. Carr in The Romantic Exiles—
> > ensured that everything went off at half cock, with the Polish
> > revolutionaries being assured of help that never came, and with their
> > brave Russian co-thinkers vulnerable to charges of treason. A terrible
> > Slavophile backlash ensued, with every liberal in
> > Moscow accused, in effect, of aiding and abetting a Polish terrorist
> > scheme. Nothing is more lethal to liberal and socialist
> > aspirations than competing xenophobias, and among the chief victims
> > of this calamity was The Bell, which lost almost all its circulation.
> > Herzen's remaining years of life were poisoned by financial exigency
> > (he finally stopped being an easy touch for any posturing revolutionary
> > mendicant), by malicious accusations from hard-faced radicals that he
had
> > sold out, and by a series of personal tragedies and sexual humiliations
> > that, to be appreciated, simply have to be read in full. (Vladimir
Nabokov
> > is said to have admired My Past and Thoughts so much that he tried
> > retrospectively to alter its title to something less pompous-sounding.)
> > More annihilating than anything, one suspects, must have been
> > Herzen's realization that from now on the initiative would come not
> > from those who spread emancipating ideas but from the
> > sanguinary
> > clash of nations and classes. This has been the fate of conscientious
> > radicals throughout history, but nobody ever recorded the emotions of
> > disaster and disillusionment with more care and scruple and poetry
> > than Herzen did.
>