NABOKV-L post 0005161, Wed, 7 Jun 2000 09:58:34 -0700

Re: Query-Fr. Pavel Florensky (fwd)
From: Alphonse Vinh <>

This is fascinating stuff. I'm at work and don't have access to my library!
But I want to send a few notes. Fr Pavel Florensky was a polymath and has
been called the "Russian Leonardo Da Vinci." Solzhenitsyn mentions Fr Pavel
in his Gulag work who is remembered by former zeks as carrying on his
scientific experiments even whilst serving in a labour camp. The
scholar-philosopher-priest was canonised several years ago by the Moscow
Patriarchate. Fr Pavel published books and articles in fields such as
theology, philosophy, art history, mathematics, and electrical engineering.

Something tells me Nabokov must have known about Fr Pavel Florensky given
the latter's great importance during the Silver Age culture. Fr Pavel was a
friend of Vasilii Rozanov and participated with him in the Moscow
Religio-Philosophical Society which included many distinguished members of
the Russian secular and religious intelligentsia. I have read somewhere in
one of Nabokov's lectures or interviews that he considered Rozanov a "writer
of genius."

Former members of the MRPS settled in Berling after the Revolution including
Nikolai Berdiaev who was also friends with Rozanov. At various emigre
functions in Paris, Berlin, or Prague, VN would have encountered some of
these representatives of the intelligentsia who reconciled with Orthodoxy in
the decades before 1917.


Alphonse Vinh

-----Original Message-----
From: Galya Diment []
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2000 12:28 PM
Subject: Re: Query-Fr. Pavel Florensky (fwd)

Had to re-check but here it is: Gene Barabtarlo in AERIAL VIEW makes
several references to Florensky while discussing Nabokov's "Art and
Metaphysics." See, for example, his discussion of PNIN, "A Resolved
Discord," pp. 141-92.

Galya Diment

> From: sam schuman <>
> Does anyone know if VN knew the work of, or possibly even might have
> encountered in person, the priest, scientist and writer Pavel Florensky
> (1882-1937)? Florensky, as I suppose most everyone but me knows, was
> something of a genius, a saint and certainly a martyr. Fr. Pavel writes:
> For within ourselves, life in the visible world alternates with life in
> invisible, and thus we experience moments...when the two worlds grow so
> very near in us that we can see their intimate touching At such fleeting
> moments in us, the veil of visibility is torn apart, and through that tear
> - that break we are still conscious of at that moment - we can sense that
> the invisible world (still unearthly, still invisible ) is breathing: and
> that both this and another world are dissolving into ech other.
> Sam
> Samuel Schuman
> Chancellor
> The University of Minnesota, Morris
> Morris, MN 56267
> 320-589-6015