NABOKV-L post 0024794, Tue, 12 Nov 2013 16:31:21 -0800

Re: [QUERY] Pushkin in LRL

Dear Jansy,

I read through what VN says of the Pushkin poem - but in actuality he only speaks of the first line and only of the aural beauty of the Russian, and a very personal reaction. Well, but now I have forgotten your original question. By the way, I think that VN exaggerates the beauty of the line in itself. For me it is the poem as a whole that is so wondrous - the first line in itself doesn't strike me as so miraculous.


p.s. I find most of what VN writes here incomprehensible, but I am not a native Russian speaker. Still I don't know what to make of this last sentence: "I did translate it at last; but to give my version at this point might lead the reader to doubt that perfection be attainable by merely following a few perfect rules."

What the hell does that mean??

From: Jansy Mello <jansy.nabokv-L@AETERN.US>
Sent: Sunday, November 10, 2013 6:45 AM
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] [QUERY] Pushkin in LRL

Carolyn Kunin: I can't explain Nabokov's explanations
since I don't have access to "The Art of Translation" - the wickedness of
wikipedia is something you'll have to look up for yourself. I have been looking
through Eric Naiman's book on "Nabokov, Perversely" and I should re-name it
"Nabokov, Smuttily."
Jansy Mello:  Unfortunately
I cannot forward this link to you "off-list" but you can find it directly in the
VN-L archives:
Access digital  text of VN's "Art of Translation” [August 4, 1941:
archives from New Republic 
] Cf. [NABOKV-L] internet access to digital "The Art of Translation"
by V.Nabokov; 3 Oct. 2013
I found no wickedness reading about Pushkin and his poem on wikipedia.
However, I agree with you about an excess of zeal, on E.Naiman's part,
concerning the distortions of sexual symbolism as they're to be found
in world literature (malicious verbal games are omnipresent since BC
years, no need of Freud to understand them, the same applies to the
abundant euphemisms used everywhere* ) .
* intelligent smuttiness is often delightful to my ears, like Mae
West's famous quip:“Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to
see me?”
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