NABOKV-L post 0002213, Thu, 3 Jul 1997 10:05:15 -0700

Different VN's in Russian & English?
EDITORIAL NOTE. Since the summertime doldrums are upon us, I thought the
following query (and my semi-response below) might provide some food for
thought. It's the kind of question that (il-)logical positivists like
myself tend to steer clean of since it involves so many imponderables
but it is not without interest. Comments from anyone?
> FROM:Mari Yamaguchi(
> I'm a student at Rikkyo University in Tokyo. In one of the
> classes there, a teacher has asked me to research into one of
> any bilingual(or trilingual, or more) authors and find out
> if the writer's personality changed when he/she used different
> languages. I decided to do my research work on a trilingual
> author, Vladimir Nabokov. So I have to find out whether(if any,
> how) his personality in his English works is different from
> that in his Russian works, or in his French works. I have done
> some research and I already found that Nabokov didn't feel so
> comfortable to write novels in English. He felt more comfortable
> in Russian. But I don't know HOW differently his personalities are
> appeared in his works. If I only knew both English and Russian,
> I could probably find out about it by myself. If you could just tell me
> how I can find necessary information about it, I'd be very grateful!
> Mari Yamaguchi, from Kanagawa Japan
Dear Mari Yamaguchi,
.................... You can get some backgound information from a book
by Elizabeth Beaujour, _Alien Tongues_, I think it's called, which deals
with Nabokov, inter alia. The author also has an essay or two in the
recent _Guide to Nabokov_ edited by Vladimir Alexandrov. Her bibliography will
give you a place get background to the matter. My own feeling is that
Nabokov projects rather the same image in both Russian and English.
Best of luck.

D. Barton Johnson