Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025205, Mon, 17 Mar 2014 23:09:21 -0300

[SIGHTING] A "Russian Kipling" in Nabokov's eyes...

“The little black book” on Books (Cassell Illustrated), already mentioned in the VN-L a few years ago, has an entry that escaped me at that time, on p.57, related to the Russian writer Alexander Kuprin and his ‘spy-thriller’ “Junior Captain Rybnikov.”

“Nabokov called Kuprin a Russian Kipling for his stories about pathetic adventure-seekers. Here perhaps Shchavinsky, “the writer”, is one such adventurer and petty-criminal and chancer Len’ka, darling of the brothel girls, another. Their unheroic curiosity forces the much more likeable captain to betray himself. Yet the real secret he takes to the grave…”

(no bibliographical references were included, but they are found in Wikipedia and in B.Boyd*).

* - 2 comments to The Duel by Alexander Kuprin

· <http://wutheringexpectations.blogspot.com/> Amateur Reader

<http://www.bibliographing.com/2011/08/24/the-duel-by-alexander-kuprin/comment-page-1/#comment-132543> August 26, 2011 at 15:29

Based on a glimpse of your twitter feed – which is called, I believe, a twimpse – I was poking around in Boyd’s bio of Nabokov. Calling Kuprin the “Russian Kipling” is a positive but belittling judgment. Good, but a writer of boy’s books. Kuprin sent a consoling letter when Navokov’s father was assassinated, and Nabokov and Kuprin met in Paris in the 1930s.The Duel sounds amusingly crazy, if nothing else. Full of rules that make no sense.

· <http://www.bibliographing.com/> nicole

<http://www.bibliographing.com/2011/08/24/the-duel-by-alexander-kuprin/comment-page-1/#comment-132544> August 26, 2011 at 15:35

I was counting on you to have at least a twimpse so someone would answer my question! Without doing research of my own, of course. I think “positive but belittling” is sort of what I had in mind, though it seems like an oxymoron. On the other hand, I can see The Duel as a boys’ book. Tolstoy reacted a bit differently, according to the flap: The Duel made him call Kuprin the next Chekhov. I’m not entirely sure what he meant by that yet. I need to read a lot more Chekhov.

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