Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000827, Fri, 17 Nov 1995 09:06:09 -0800

Nabokov World
From: Michael Juliar <mlj@mink.mt.att.com>

I. Re: the etymology of posh

The 'port out, starboard home' origin for posh is the
pop etymological origin of the word. No modern
etymologist or dictionary accepts it today. The usual
dictionary entry is <origin unknown>.

II. Item: From The New York Times, 13-Nov-95, OpEd page

A piece titled "Melatonin Math" describes M.G. Lord's
thoughts on sleep, insomnia, and the current hormone
fad, melatonin. She even credits Nabokov with making
history of some sort--I'm not sure what:

...Insomnia has much to recommend it. Many great
men--Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Edison, Abraham
Lincoln--hit upon history-making ideas while pacing
around at night.

"Sleep is the most moronic fraternity in the world,"
Nabokov wrote in his autobiography. "It is a
mental torture I find debasing...I simply cannot
get used to the nightly betrayal of reason,
humanity, genius. No matter how great my
weariness, the wrench of parting with consciousness
is unspeakably repulsive to me."

Lord is credited as the author of "Forever Barbie: The
Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll."

She has another, uncredited, connection to Nabokov. Her
husband is Glenn Horowitz, a Manhattan rare book dealer
who was the broker in the deal that sent a large
portion of the Nabokov archives to the New York Public
Library's Berg Collection a few years ago.

III. Item: From the "prelaunch" "issue" of Salon (no date, no page number)

A new "electronic magazine" called Salon, describing
itself as "an online magazine of books, arts and ideas"
has "published" a piece by Mary Gaitskill on Nabokov.

I've used an awful lot of quotation marks above because
I'm not sure that the terms I've used are accurate for
this new medium. Anyway, this article appears to be a
first for Nabokov.

Titled "Sorcerer of Cruelty" and with what I think is a
subtitle, "My Inspiration: Vladimir Nabokov," the piece
is accessible through the World Wide Web
(http://www.salon1999.com) and covers two web pages and
hyperlinks to three more.

Gaitskill, a fiction writer herself ("Two Girls, Fat
and Thin," "Bad Behavior," and traditional magazine
pieces), writes admiringly of Nabokov to counter what
some readers call Nabokov's "coldness" and "cruelty"
towards his characters. In doing so, she includes a
short review of the new "Stories of Vladimir Nabokov."

Her oddest remark is:

With its narrator's youthful rhapsodizing about
Life, "Sounds" is about as close to the voice of a
teenage Carlos Castaneda fan as Nabokov ever got
(and perhaps closer than he wanted to get).

- Michael Juliar
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