Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024732, Thu, 31 Oct 2013 18:14:51 -0200

Terrible mismatches and halloween
Or, How Nabokov Might Have Said "Trick or Treat" // André Babyn

Vladimir Nabokov - Costume: A football referee with a Heroes pin (and supplementary material).
Though Vladimir Nabokov was well aware that Lolita would be his legacy, he was unhappy with the portrayal of the book as of a doomed love affair between the tragic Dolores Haze and the vile Humbert Humbert. But the reason Lolita is often misinterpreted is because he conveyed Humbert so convincingly and undermined him too subtly, through deft feints that only careful readers catch. Nabokov gave up chess to focus on his writing, but that doesn't mean he ever stopped playing the game: his ideal reader has to work hard to maintain the most literal positions of his set pieces as well as those of two or three additional boards superimposed over the first.
Heroes was a science fiction drama that ran for four years on NBC, never returning to the heights of popularity promised by its first season, the tagline of which was "Save the cheerleader, save the world." While Lolita wasn't a cheerleader, she was a talented tennis player. After four or five hundred pages of Nabokovian association and sleight of hand we might begin to doubt their differences. They at least wear similar outfits. Some people think that Ada or Ardor and the incomplete The Original of Laura were attempts to revisit the themes in Lolita, as if that first book could be "saved" by a second or third. In Heroes, themes of redemption are personified by Hiro Nakumura, a Quixote with the power to travel through time and space. Hayden Panatierre, who played the cheerleader future Hiro tells himself to save, was also in Racing Stripes, a movie about an abandoned zebra who grows up to be a racehorse voiced by Frankie Muniz, or something.
Football referees are sometimes referred to as zebras, and Nabokov, who referred to his characters as "galley slaves," might have appreciated their authority, as well as the slimming effect of vertical stripes on his own once-svelte form. The Heroes pin is for those who can't make the connection on their own, and the supplementary material, an entirely new book, ties Lolita to Hayden, or might, if anyone at his Halloween party bothers to read past the salacious parts. More than likely Nabokov will just end up in the corner, spurred into writing furious notes to Vera whenever another bro walks up, smashes an empty into his head, and yells "NFL!"

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu
Visit Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
View Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com

Manage subscription options: http://listserv.ucsb.edu/