NABOKV-L post 0005834, Sat, 17 Mar 2001 13:52:31 -0800

[Fwd: Re: VN AND PROUST (fwd)]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: VN AND PROUST (fwd)
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 10:34:16 +1100 (EST)
From: Kiran Krishna <>

I have never been through a point in my life (with all its highs and
since I first read him that I have found VN requiring too much undue
gaiety, and if this were so, I think it would be a serious charge
On the other hand, I think that Proust was quite as conscious of wanting
to entertain in that sense as Nabokov and Joyce. As I see it, artistic
creation is always an ecstatic effort, irrespective of its own emotional
content. I think I can feel some of that ecstasy at seeing (or hearing)
the appropriateness of a word at a particular point in the text, or the
sudden variation from metrical norm.

On other matters, White's association of VN with Stravinsky (which was
first made by Appel) is particularly pleasing, although Stravinsky
Tchaikovsky (Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky tells us, certainly didn't) and
was friendly with the Eliots. Other composers who suggest themselves to
mind as akin to Nabokov in some ways are Prokofiev (whose favourite
novelist was, I am told, Sirin), Sibelius, and Rachmaninov. Which is not
to suggest any "influence" either way. I think Rachmaninov collaborated
with VN on a setting (in English) of Balmont's (?) translation of Poe's
'Bells'. A curious coincidence regarding Stravinsky was that he was
reputed to have offered his walking stick to a certain soviet "lackey"
eager to shake his hand on his [Stravinsky's] visit to the Soviet Union,
which is reminiscent of an episode from Ada. I am not entirely sure when
this visit took place. I think it was in 1962.

> On Mon, 12 Mar 2001, 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.
> >
> Cheers!
> yours
> Kiran
> "I am an obscure, doubly obscure, novelist with an unpronounceable name."
> -Vladimir Nabokov


"I am an obscure, doubly obscure, novelist with an unpronounceable
-Vladimir Nabokov