NABOKV-L post 0006906, Sat, 12 Oct 2002 20:33:22 -0700

Fw: Nabokov and Music

----- Original Message -----
From: George Shimanovich
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2002 6:40 PM
Subject: Re: Nabokov and Music

Wasn't short story 'Music' written by Nabokov to demonstrate irrelevance of direct emotional "intimations" elicited by music to old passion that refuses to be contained? Then there is "test on absolutely free associations" in 'Pnin' where a child is expected to react to stimulating words: one of these words is 'music'. I think direct 'stimulating' appeal of music to emotions, so frequently cited, contradicted to Nabokov's approach: the precision of his art was not emotional and certainly not stimulating. In a way Nabokov's lack of interest in that 'music' could have similar roots with his dislike of writers with direct impact and not precise form, like Dostoevski.

Notwithstanding the above I do think that Nabokov was a good listener of music. After all it was an opera that he discussed with his Father the night before V.D Nabokov was shot.

- George Shimanovich
On Fri, 11 Oct 2002 13:56:27 -0700 "D. Barton Johnson" <> wrote:
>Was Nabokov actually daunted, or even frightened by the same thing?

The human brain is 'auditorily centered'...I don't think Nabokov found music boring, bland, or
banal. I believe he was just so busy with grasping the visual he simply did his best to ignore
sound directly. Indirectly, he is, to me, one of the most musical writers I have read to date.

Your question is good. I don't have an answer but would certainly be interested in the opinions
of others.