Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025482, Thu, 26 Jun 2014 15:47:51 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] RES: [NABOKV-L] Life before 'Lolita' . . .
Jansy Mello: [to Aisenberg [ ]…“only by taking this falseness or artiness into account at the level of a work's effect can anything genuine be approached by the medium. Then the artist's serious truth will not be cheapened by the worn out devices of easy pathos which short circuits thought… the danger is that parody can reveal a nostalgia for the very cliches it sends up; that it can be used to usher corny pathos back into the equation by means of self-conscious apology.”] You made a good point [about] the disadvantages of self-conscious apology and self-parody, sometimes also indulged in by V.Nabokov.

PS: I forgot to add that V.Nabokov distinguishes between “truth in art” and “ a semblance of truth in art” (Cf. his 1937 article “Pouchkine ou le vrai et le vraisemblable”, translated as “Pushkin, the Real and the Plausible), but this appears in a totally different context - one related to biography and historical truth - from his more familiar definitions of artists as great deceivers, like nature.

Quoting him: “Literature is invention. Fiction is fiction. To call a story a true story is an insult to both art and truth. Every great writer is a great deceiver, but so is that arch-cheat Nature. Nature always deceives. From the simple deception of propagation to the prodigiously sophisticated illusion of protective colors in butterflies or birds, there is in Nature a marvelous system of spells and wiles. The writer of fiction only follows Nature’s lead.”

This takes me to my second point:

When Nabokov mentions Nature’s “marvelous system of spells and wiles” we can find the idea of “mimicry” in the background. Now, aren’t some parodies a kind of mimicry that takes place outside the realm of biology or a darwinian survival?
Would Nabokov have considered “parody” in that sense, too? Just imagine how many successful (i.e., unspotted) parodies may be still hiding behind his allusions and semi-transparent references (or did I get lost in the realm of the impossibles?).

Wonderful prompting, Joseph Aisenberg: SES has picked up one short-story (Cloud, Castle,Lake) for a collective discussion. Let the games begin?

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