NABOKV-L post 0006994, Thu, 31 Oct 2002 19:56:26 -0800

Dmitri Nabokov on :"glass presses"; RLS, & Duels in the Sun

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Dmitri Nabokov o
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 19:53:29 -0800
From: Donald Johnson <>
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: reply to Carolyn Kunin
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 18:58:33 -0000
To: "'Don Barton Johnson'" <>

Dear Carolyn Kunin,

No, our OEDs are alike, but I should have made it clearer that the
definition I cited extends, of course, to presses made of materials
other than glass as well. That much said, I think you'll agree that,
the Net notwithstanding and in keeping with OED and English usage
(especially of some years ago), "glass-press" (hyphenated) suggests a
"device to apply pressure to glass" (vol. IV, p. 204), while "glass
press" (adjective + noun) denotes the cupboard (vol. VIII), p 1314)
made, at least in part, of glass.

Father told me that "SLAUGHTER IN THE SUN" is a play on LAUGHTER IN THE
DARK, but he would probably have been amused by the double allusion
(DUEL IN THE SUN, which I saw in New York as a child, was long a
favorite of mine).

You might enjoy this detail. In a letter of May 9, 1950, during an
exchange about what Father might teach at Cornell, Edmund Wilson wrote:

Stevenson is second-rate.

On May 15 Nabokov replied:

You approach Stevenson from the wrong side. Of course TREASURE ISLAND is
poor stuff. The one masterpiece he wrote is the first-rate and permanent

With best regards,