Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025483, Thu, 26 Jun 2014 19:41:36 -0300

'Lolita' . . .
A second PS to 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…”] 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?

Sorry to be back so soon, but I think this post-PS relates to the VN-L’s present and future debates.

I found a curious statement by Nabokov while searching for more information about Cloud, Castle,Lake. It may be brought up here without spoiling the future assembled discussions about VN’s short-story…

Published in English as part of “Nabokov’s Dozen” in 1958, its original title is Oblako, ozero, bashnya, and it was originally written in Russian and signed by V.Sirin. VN notes in the Appendix to his collected stories in “The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov”: “The English versions of those three stories (The Aurelian, Cloud,Castle, Lake and Spring in Fialta)were prepared by me (who am alone responsible for any discrepancies between them and the original texts) in collaboration with Peter Pertzov.”

He adds: “Only ‘Mademoiselle O’ and ‘First Love’ are (except for a change of names) true in every detail to the author's remembered life. ‘The Assistant Producer’ is based on actual facts. As to the rest, I am no more guilty of imitating "real life" than "real life" is responsible for plagiarizing me.” These last lines by V.Nabokov are related to “artistic truth,” “true stories” and “parodies.” They may offer a hint about his choice of a title for his first novel written in English (RLSK) by adding a twist to the meaning of “real life,” by isolating these two words under inverted commas. The matter relating parodies and mimetism (in my first tentative approach) here fans out into two other issues: faithful translations and plagiarism (I omitted “pastiche” on purpose). The matter is becoming too complex for me, particularly because I seem to spot a contradiction related to historical truth and how it’s remembered and rendered, with VN’s other assertions and I’m certainly in the wrong.

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