Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004809, Thu, 24 Feb 2000 16:19:16 -0800

Re: Pale Fire and Homophobia (fwd)
From: Kiran Krishna <kiran@Physics.usyd.edu.au>
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@UCSBVM.UCSB.EDU>
Subject: Re: Pale Fire and Homophobia

On Wed, 23 Feb 2000, Donald Barton Johnson wrote:

> From: George Shimanovich <gshiman@worldnet.att.net>
> In response to Galya and Christopher:
> > To his credit,
> > Nabokov himself would have been the first one to reject this notion if
> > prejudices against homosexuals had fallen into his definition of "bigotry."
> > Unfortunately, I don't believe they did, for reasons that may be both
> > societal and personal.
> >
> This statement makes an impression that Nabokov's "prejudices" against
> homosexuals did not fall into his definition of "bigotry" for social (?!)
> reasons. I don't think Nabokov position on this or any other subject are based
> on any social reasoning. If this would be so then this e-mail list would not
> exist.
I'll agree that very little Nabokov did was based on what society
thought. But, he found most abnormal sexual behaviour( One thinks of his
response to Bloom in Ulysses) distasteful. But, I must point out that
prejudices doesn't have a tag "his" attached to it in that sentence. So,
we are actually talking about his thoughts on others' prejudices, which
is quite different. By the way, in Speak, Memory we find this:
In the same essay he reveals a very liberal and 'modern' approach to
verious abnormal practices, incidentally coining a convenient Russian word
for 'homosexual': ravnopoliy(umlaut over the i)

> > if Nabokov had constructed a fiction that
> > featured a character of African or Jewish extraction doing the things Kinbote
> > does in relation to Shade (I leave out of this equation sexual orientation),
> > might we not consider such fiction an example of dubious ethical merit?
> >
> I find it a stretch to drag Semits on the same scale with homosexuals (no
> offense), via Kinbote. True, Hillel (Jewish philosopher) said that the essence
> of Judaism is not to wish others what you do not wish to yourself. Choice,
> however, of alternative life styles was never on the wish list. I rest my case.
I don't think Pale Fire is of dubious ethical merit.
> George Shimanovich
> gshiman@worldnet.att.net


"There is always one more bug."
- Andy Bakich.

"Balzac carried a cane on which was carved the legend I smash every
obstacle; my legend reads: Every obstacle smashes me."
-Franz Kafka

"[Countess Tolstoy] mentioned that a great number of bums kept coming to
see her husband, to which Gorki politely agreed."
-Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Russian Literature

"The lower the order of mental activity the better the company."
-Company. Samuel Beckett