NABOKV-L post 0024591, Mon, 16 Sep 2013 13:26:42 -0300

Re: [Thoughts] Art's higher level
Frances Assa [ to JM's "He adds:that "this entire structure...can be compared to a painting and you don't have to work gradually from left to right..." (SO 32): He is not consciously a yarn-spinner because he seems to isolate a cerebral plot from the emerging visual structure of the novel, but this aspect is not very clear to me. What about his "combinational talents" to compose "riddles with elegant solutions" ? (p.16) Or "the instant vision turning into rapid speech"? (SO 109)" ]: "Interesting question about interesting observations, Jansy. I might add to these observations his ability to do chess problems, and see the world (through Luzhin) as organizeable into 8 by 8 squares. A chess board works nomatter how you turn it, and may thus have been particularly pleasing to VN. This brings up something that has always puzzled me. I think it is in Look at the Harlequins that the protagonist, who shares a lot of VN's life, is chagrined because he is unable to visualize a certain path backwards, until his true love somehow helps him. This seems to fit in with your exploration of Nabokov's patterning.

Jansy Mello: Interesting anwers and conjectures, Fran. They set me thinking about Vadim's inability to "visualize a certain path backwards" in connection to the organizational urge that could inspire some of the chess players.

I read that Nabokov was able to mentally plan ahead a great number of chess moves. Would it be equally important, in a tournament or during the composition of problems, to visualize in retrospect in order to find out where an ackward move had spoilt the player's future choices that lead to victory? I mean, metaphorically, to find out one's past errors to correct them or, if impossible, to be able to grieve over them? Nabokov's recollections of his past are artistically doctored and he had a great aversion to the Freudian method of unearthing past truths. Besides, as we find in Speak,Memory (and, later, in ADA) not only references to what Nabokov named "chronophobia" but a few other examples related to the panic of discovering that the world existed before and after his existence, or that people didn't conform to his "organized" view of them ( he registers his surprise at one of his tutor's getting married, or at a hot-dog vendor being recognized as a good poet...)

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