NABOKV-L post 0000712, Mon, 11 Sep 1995 16:37:17 -0700

VN and the Beats (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------

I have been curious about the connection (or disconnection)
between VN and the writers of the Beat generation. The impetus for this
curiousity came from a brief passage in D. Barton Johnson's "VN and the
Sixties" paper, in which he mentions the (probable) mutual distaste
between VN and the Beats. I began to wonder if any of the Beat writers
had commented on VN or if they had any feelings regarding VN at all. To
this end, I wrote to the poet Gary Snyder.

As Mr. Johnson had anticipated, Snyder did not have too much to
say regarding VN. He did say, however, that VN's "archness of style was
amusing but not as interesting as the complex vernacular energy in, say,
Kerouac's prose or the menacing erudition of Burroughs." He also
mentioned that he (Snyder) was "already formed as a writer by the time
*Lolita*" came on the scene. I could not detect any admiration or
affection in Snyder's tone towards VN. I suppose the Beats and VN have
only a temporal connection. Other than that, in terms of style, tone,
"energy," VN and the Beats were worlds apart.