NABOKV-L post 0005817, Mon, 12 Mar 2001 10:58:12 -0800

From: Suellen Stringer-Hye <>

I thought this quote from Edmund White seemed apropos

"Nabokov must be ranked, finally not with other writers but with a
composer and a choreographer, Stravinsky and Balanchine." All
three men were of the same generation, all three were Russians who
were clarified by passing through the sieve of French culture but
were brought to the boiling point only by the short order cook of
American informality. All three experimented with form but none
produced avante-garde trash as Nabokov called it, for all three were
too keen on recuperating parodists all three artists
loved the art they parodied and made modern by placing old gems in
new settings... Most important, all three men had a vision of art as
entertainment, not to be sure as a vulgar courting of debased
popular taste but as a wooing of shrewder, more restless though
always robust sensibilities." (White 1994, 186).

On 12 Mar 2001, at 10:31, Galya Diment wrote:

From: Benjamen Tolstoy <>

Now, that the List turned to this extremely important and perilous theme -
Proust and VN - I'd like to respond with a low echo. Neither Pushkin, nor
Gogol, Browning, Joyce or Tolstoy focused Nabokov's own optics and wind up
his clock, but Marcel. Enchanted Nabokov took Proust's magical crystal, his
scientific machinery and his mixtures - and placed all this at
entertainment services. The way first chemists made use of alchemistry. He
indeed dedicated his life in art to wrestling with a reader, with a
pattern, - to entertaining. Perhaps this is the reason that his most
devoted readers from time to time neglect his books when passing some
dramatic, some serious periods of their lives. When they want to see through
the glass, not to savour patterns of rime. When they want to hear a man who
doesn't think about them. And then they turn to Proust.
I'd propose this theme to you all: art and entertainment.
Suellen Stringer-Hye
Jean and Alexander Heard Library
Vanderbilt University