NABOKV-L post 0002398, Mon, 29 Sep 1997 14:36:47 -0700

Subject
VN mentions in Edmund White's THE BURNING LIBRARY (fwd)
Date
Body
From: Earl Sampson <esampson@cu.campus.mci.net>


Further mentions of VN in White's THE BURNING LIBRARY:

3) From "Sweating Mirrors: A Conversation with Truman Capote": "I
congratulated Capote on his new MUSIC FOR CHAMELEONS.... It
contains...effervescent non-fiction portraits of Marilyn Monroe and of a
char ('A Day's Work').... In both of these portraits he himself appears as
a fully fleshed character - gossipy, elfin, compassionate, doomed. In the
introduction to the book he explains that he'd sought a way to employ all
his technical skills at once. One might add that the most dazzling
'technique' is the stunning personal candor, one that sheds the same
mordant brilliance that Nabokov achieved in a quite different way, by
contrasting passionate tenderness toward the beloved with patriciam
comtempt for everyone else." (95-96) "In the extant chapters of ANSWERED
PRAYERS, he depicts some of the jumbled elements of his own life (much as
Nabokov does in LOOK AT THE HARLEQUINS!)." (104)

4) Passing references to LOLITA (besides those in the Parody article):
i) From the 1988 "Paris Review" interview: "When you finish reading a book
like
LOLITA you feel that there's nothing more wonderful in the whole world than
writing a novel; you feel challenged and awake and alive, and you have a
desire to write with the same keen response to the sensous world." (243-44)
ii) From a 1992 article, "Southern Belles lettres: Cormac McCarthy": "His...
third [novel], CHILD OF GOD, is Southern Gothic at its creepiest, the sort
parodied by Nabokov in the afterword to LOLITA ('I'm crazy, you're crazy,
I guess God is crazy')." (323)
iii) From a 1993 review, "Herve' Guibert: Sade in Jeans": "[In} VOYAGE AVEC
DEUX ENFANTS...Guibert captures perfectly all the nose-picking tedium and
jokey empty-headedness of pedophilia, the exhausting boredom of
wasting so
much time on idiotic brats just to secure a few seconds of bliss. Not
since Humbert Humbert has anyone made this condition so crystal clear."
(358-59)
(Can't let that last one pass without a comment. While it may be more or
less fair in regard to Humbert's pre-Lolita travails in pursuit of
nymphets, it *could* be taken to imply that his obsession with Lolita is
ordinary pedophilia, a proposition I don't think any of us could accept. -
ES)

More to follow.

Earl Sampson
Boulder, CO