NABOKV-L post 0005953, Mon, 7 May 2001 12:11:51 -0700

Subject
VN & John Crowe Ransom
Date
Body
------------------

I think the particular work that Nabokov admired (atleast as recorded in
Boyd) was *Bells for John Whiteside's Daughter*, which I think is one of
the two loveliest American poems of that period, but it is interesting
that he didn't remember Ransom's name. The use of the word 'indeed'
suggests a quotation to me, but I might be guilty of overinterpretation.
Given the circumstances of the quotation in Ransom (one of several
attempts at defining a beautiful poem in response to Richards' 'failure
to
find any objective correlative for the sense of "beauty"') it seemed
that
Ransom was quoting someone as well. I agree that there cannot be any
"free development" in a literary world, unlike in a democracy, but (as
Ransom would argue), the precise points of the analogy are well
illustrated by the vehicle, which, however, is allowed to have
characteristics irrelevant to the comparison.

On Fri, 4 May 2001, D. Barton Johnson wrote:

> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: RE: VN & John Crowe Ransom
> Date: Fri, 4 May 2001 10:52:56 -0700
> From: Mark Bennett <mab@straussandasher.com>
>
> VN is on record as admiring Ransom's poetry, particularly "Captain
> Carpenter," so he was familiar with at least some aspects of Ransom's
> work.
> But isn't VN being a bit disingenuous here? I seem to recall that
> elsewhere
> he describes his own literary worlds as utter tyrannies, in which the
> characters, "even the most incidental," are subject to the cruel, if not
> arbitrary, demands of the author's artistic purpose. Perhaps such a
> tyranny
> is, given its purpose, a "magic democracy"? In any event, I suspect
> that
> Ransom and VN arrived at their similar views independently
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: D. Barton Johnson [SMTP:chtodel@gte.net]
> > Sent: Friday, May 04, 2001 10:30 AM
> > To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
> > Subject: VN & John Crowe Ransom
> >
> > ------------------
> > Nabokov's lecture on Bleak house ends with the words:
> >
> > "A great writer's world is indeed a magic democracy where even some very
> > minor character, even the most incidental character like the person who
> > tosses the twopence, has the right to live and breed."
> >
> > Ransom, in *The New Criticism*, in the essay on I.A.Richards, says:
> >
> > "'A beautiful poem is a democratic state, so to speak, which realises
> > the
> > ends of a state, without sacrificing the personal character of its
> > citizens.'"
> >
> > I wonder if Nabokov was quoting Ransom, both are quoting someone else,
> > or both arrived at the same comparison coincidentally.
> >
> > Ransom, by the way, is a brilliant literary critic.
> >
> > Cheers!
> > yours
> > Kiran
> >
> > "It is impossible, by the way, by picking up one of anything to pick one
> > that is not atypical in some sense."
> > - R.P. Feynman, The Character of Physical Law
> >
> > http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/~kiran
> >
> > http://www.physics.usyd.edu/hienergy
>

Cheers!
yours
Kiran

"It is impossible, by the way, by picking up one of anything to pick one
that is not atypical in some sense."
- R.P. Feynman, The Character of Physical Law

http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/~kiran

http://www.physics.usyd.edu/hienergy