Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024819, Fri, 22 Nov 2013 13:14:59 -0200

Re: sighting
Brian Boyd [ reply to Frances Assa : "An Old Chinese Novel Is Racy Reading Still" David Tod Roy Completes His Translation of ‘Chin P’ing Mei’ by Jennifer Schuessler]: "The NYT reviewer’s mention of Ulysses and Nabokov is not accidental [ ] "Like Ulysses and Lolita, the Chin P’ing Mei contains thousands of unidentified allusions to, and quotations from, earlier works of literature. [ ] What Brian Boyd says of Vladimir Nabokov’s practice in this regard is equally true of the Chin P’ing Mei: ‘He transmutes a recurrent element sufficiently for the repetition to be overlooked, he casually discloses one piece of partial information and leaves it up to us to connect it with another apparently offhand fact, or he groups together stray details and repeats the random cluster much later in what appears to be a remote context. . . . In a book swarming with detail and abounding in obvious patterns these details are so slight and their repetition subjected to such transformation that no reader could even notice these matching clusters until a careful re-reading. ’ ”

Jansy Mello: Brian's detailed presentation of "things that we consider most singularly and unprecedentedly Nabokovian" is, as usual, very informative and clarifying.
The question remains, though, related to what allusions and references were deliberately planted by VN and those that arise spontaneously from VN's wide range of readings and should be sifted out ( In RLSK there's an ellucidating description of Sebastian's irradiating associations which he struggles to limit ).
More important still, in my eyes, is what's the purpose of grouping together stray details to repeat "the random cluster" in (& Brian adds: "in what appears to be") a "remote context."? It mustn't be as an instrument of communication with a select secret sect, nor as an expression of essential ineffables. Would it be construct a muscat game - and nothing more? Or is it a part of his invention of novel narrative ploys?

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