Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002391, Fri, 26 Sep 1997 15:44:34 -0700

Re: LOLITA's "Chestnut Lodge" (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 27 Sep 1997 01:51:04 +0400
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@UCSBVM.ucsb.edu>
Subject: Re: LOLITA's "Chestnut Lodge" (fwd)

From: "Peter A. Kartsev" <petr@glas.apc.org>

Thanks to Galya Diment for her interesting reply. I think her remarks are
mostly valid, but I'd like to make a couple of corrections. "Lilith" may
well have seemed dirty to Struve - at least, I understand why it might
have. At the same time I wouldn't call it a dirty poem myself. It has
apparently no exact dating in "Poems and Problems" (I can't check) but in
one Russian edition it is dated 1928. I am no specialist, but I've got a
hunch that the dating must be more or less correct - and that in any case
it couldn't have been written before VN's marriage in 1925. I strongly
doubt that Vera Nabokov could have been offended by anything VN wrote, but
that's beyond the point. I do not argue that VN wasn't interested in
sensuality. I merely say that from all I know of him, hiding dirty words
in unlikely places just wasn't his kind of fun. Can't we give him credit
for a little more subtlety? I do not find that c**** in chestnuts are all
that obvious (that was Professor Naiman's word, I think). And I don't
think VN put them there. Discovering them as the reason for Chestnut
Lodge's existence seems to me on the same level as saying that tree leaves
are green in Mansfield Park because green is the color of hope. I think VN
gave a D minus to that student, or maybe an E plus.

Peter Kartsev.