Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004889, Tue, 14 Mar 2000 08:52:01 -0800

C. P. Snow, VN, & NABOKOV's BLUES: Science Please!
On Mon, 13 Mar 2000, Kurt Johnson wrote:

> The authors seem to suggest that a healthy relation between C P Snow's
> "two cultures" requires not a facile unity but a deep appreciation of both
> the humanities and the sciences.

> This book will provide both enjoyment and enlightenment to any reader
> interested not only in Nabokov but in the relations between the arts and
> sciences.

In an interview with Alfred Appel(September '66), this topic(and the
writer) comes up :

'C.P. Snow has complained about the gulf between the "two cultures," the
literary and the scientific communities. As someone who has bridged thsi
gulf, do you see the sciences and humanities as necessarily opposed? Have
your experiences as a scientist influenced yor performance as an artist?
Is it fanciful to use the vocabulary of physics in describing the
structures of some of your novels?'

'I might compare myself to a Colossus of Rhodes bestriding the gulf
between the thermodynamics of Snow and the Laurentiomania of Leavis, had
that gulf not been a mere dimple of a ditch that a small frog could
straddle. The terms "physics" and the "egghead" as used nowadays evoke in
me the dreary images of applied science, the knack of an electrician
tinkering with bombs and ither gadgets. One of those "Two Cultures" is
really nothing but utilitarian technology; the other is B-grade novels,
ideological fiction, popular art. Who cares if there exists a gap between
such "physics" and such "humanities"? Those eggheads are terrible
philistines. A really good head is not oval but round.'
(Strong Opinions. Page 78)

"I doubt everything, even my own doubts."
-Gustave Flaubert. Letter to Louise Colet.