Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024420, Fri, 19 Jul 2013 12:02:15 -0300

QUERY: VN & Phyllis Greenacre: Correction
C. Kunin: [ to Matt Roth: "Not able to answer your question - but I do balk at your description of Phyllis Greenacre as the most prominent American psychoanalyst of any period whatsoever. Not just that I hadn't heard of her (let's wait and see what Jansy has to say about this) but there is little about her on the web. ..then there was the famous child psychiatrist Melanie Klein and analyst Karen Horney. In a list of 48 prominent psychoanalysts her, Greenacre's, name does not come up.

Jansy Mello: There were many European psychoanalysts who moved to America during WWII, among them Karen Horney and Erich Fromm. Melanie Klein was an Austrian who, like Freud, chose England as her new home. Phyllis Greenacre was American born and I'm not familiar with the development of psychoanalytic theories in America after this "diaspora" - this is why I have nothing of value to add.

From VN's commentaries in "Pale Fire," related to Oskar Pfister (who was as as Swiss as Carl Gustav Jung)*, I got the vague impression that Nabokov's readings took place in the early twenties or thirties, or focused mainly on European texts. The field for conjectures, however, is wide open!
* - Kinbote's note to line 929: "In my mind’s eye I see again the poet literally collapsing on his lawn, beating the grass with his fist, and shaking and howling with laughter, and myself, Dr. Kinbote, a torrent of tears streaming down my beard, as I try to read coherently certain tidbits from a book I had filched from a classroom: a learned work on psychoanalysis, used in American colleges, repeat, used in American colleges. Alas, I find only two items preserved in my notebook: / By picking the nose in spite of all commands to the contrary, or when a youth is all the time sticking his finger through his buttonhole... the analytic teacher knows that the appetite of the lustful one knows no limit in his phantasies.(Quoted by Prof. C. from Dr. Oskar Pfister, The Psychoanalytical Method, 1917, N.Y., p. 79) The little cap of red velvet in the German version of Little Red Riding Hood is a symbol of menstruation./ (Quoted by Prof. C. from Erich Fromm, The Forgotten Language, 1951, N.Y., p. 240.) /Do those clowns really believe what they teach?" In PF, as I now see, VN quotes Pfister and Fromm only indirectly ( ironically indicating Prof. C and he references an American text curiously dated 1917 (this still needs chechking!).

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