Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000059, Wed, 11 Aug 1993 10:06:54 -0700

response to D's comments on F's treatment of N's M (fwd)
---------- Text of forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1993 11:30:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: response to D's comments on F's treatment of N's M

I agree with Galya Diment's comments of 10 August. I too was surprised by
the sentences she cites from John Burt Foster's _Nabokov's Art of Memory and
European Modernism_ ("[I]n a calculated anticlimax that suggests a denial
of the past..." and "Ganin's concluding decision to reject his past").
Ganin does not reject his past (which is, after all, the past and as such
remains irrecuperable and not open to rejection); what his does reject is
an attempt to recapture lost time in the present by seeing Mary again. The
"real" Mary, the woman we never meet, is rendered superfluous by Ganin's
painstaking reconstruction of his childhood affair. Early in the novel we
learn that Mary's image (obraz) in Ganin mind actually preceeded his first
encounter with the girl. The exhilating power of memory (read: art) is one
of the books primary themes. Of Ganin: "On byl bogom, vozrozhdaiushchim
pogibshii mir" [I quote from memory]. The question of whether Nabokov's
"art of memory" evolved is an intriguing one which merits investigation.
The sentence just cited suggests an affinity with a verse of Sologub's (I
am a god and the world is is contained in my daydreams [I paraphrase]),
which harks back to Nietzsche. Ganin as a Nietzschean "overman"??
I'm eager to read John Foster's response to Diment's comments.

Jeff Edmunds
(jhe@psulias.bitnet or