Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0007295, Wed, 18 Dec 2002 09:06:11 -0800

Query: V.N.& Eliot - & Hockney

----- Original Message -----
From: Ole Nyegaard
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2002 11:26 PM
Subject: V.N.& Eliot - & Hockney

I'm a graduate student at the University of Aarhus engaged in an ongoing project on Nabokov (and as far as I know no one else at my University, perhaps even in Denmark, seems to be doing anything on the subject, but I may be wrong). At the moment I'm writing an essay debating Nabokov's reasons for ridiculing T.S. Eliot - particularly in Lolita part 2 ch.35. Comments are welcome.
In order to contrast the two writers I am comparing scenes from The Gift with bits and pieces from The Waste Land, and Preludes, arguing that Eliot sees the "masses" as threatening and dehumanised, while Nabokov describes the crowd through Fyodor's perception of it - in tramcars and around the lake in Grünenwald. Nabokov's focus is not on the "masses" (a concept very much on the mind of modernists as Eliot & Co., cf. John Carey's The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice among the Literary Intelligentsia, 1880-1939. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993), but on the individual's perception, which made me think of David Hockney:

Did V.N. ever comment upon the paintings of David Hockney?

In my view both artists focus on the perceptual process, cf. Hockney's words regarding his paintings of Grand Canyon: "This is not a picture of Grand Canyon. This is a picture of looking at Grand Canyon" (the quote is from the material of the exhibition "David Hockney 1960-2000" in the art museum Louisiana in Denmark 2001). By the way Hockney once made a picture based on Lolita - well, the correct description, probably, would be a collage of photographs, mounted in order to show several angles of vision simultaneously.

Best Wishes

Ole Nyegaard. Aarhus, Denmark.