Vladimir Nabokov

Holiday Greetings from TheNabokovian.org

By dana_dragunoiu, 24 December, 2021

Dear Nabokovians and Fans of Nabokov Worldwide:

Last year at this time, I sent you holiday greetings with a message of hope via Nabokov’s short story “Christmas.” This year, I send you my very best holiday and new-year wishes via the following elusive lines from “Lance,” a story about a young astronaut’s journey into deep space and his old parents’ efforts to cope with their anxieties that this journey produces. Lance returns safely to earth but tells his parents that he is “going back in November.”

The lines below seem fitting for this year’s perplexities, anxieties, and hopes. May 2022 bring us to the end of this pandemic of ours and allow us to reconnect in person and in joy.

From “Lance”

The field glass is not much good, the chart is all crumpled and damp, and: “You do not hold the flashlight properly”—this to Mrs. Boke.

            Draw a deep breath. Look again.

There, to the right, is the Bridge of the Sword leading to the Otherworld (“dont nus estranges ne retorne”). Lancelot crawls over it in great pain, in ineffable anguish. “Thou shalt not pass a pass that is called the Pass Perilous.” But another enchanter commands: “You shall. You shall even acquire a sense of humor that will tide you over the trying spots.” 

My best to you all,

Dana (General Editor of TheNabokovian.org)



2 years 6 months ago

Another quote from VN to complement the above message:

Beauty dwells in the light and stillness of laboratories: like an expert diver gliding through the water with open eyes, the biologist gazes with relaxed eyelids into the microscope’s depths, and his neck and forehead slowly begin to flush, and, tearing himself away from the eyepiece, he says, "That settles everything." Human thought, flying on the trapezes of the star-filled universe, with mathematics stretched beneath, was like an acrobat working with a net but suddenly noticing that in reality there is no net, and Martin envied those who attained that vertigo and, with a new calculation, overcame their fear. Predicting an element or creating a theory, discovering a mountain chain or naming a new animal, were all equally enticing.

-- Glory