Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024948, Tue, 31 Dec 2013 17:15:27 -0200

Re: certicle storms in Ada
C. Kunin: "... you have restored my respect for VN - at least a little more than somewhat. But I still cannot for the life of me think of what he found objectionable in Zhivago. As you may know, I am more enamored of VN's poetry than most of his prose. It is really not reasonable to expect prose to carry the weight of poetry. Those who, among my acquaintance, succeeded to any degree at all are Pushkin, Pasternak, VN, Mandel'shtam and Colette. Isak Dinesen, who I do not think wrote poetry, wrote highly poetic stories. This reminds me that I did find kind words re Colette somewhere in VN - can't recall where. I am particularly glad to see that VN did sympathize with Pasternak's "predicament in a police state." He should have been insufferable otherwise."
Stan Kelly-Bootle: I was brought up in the earthy Scouse-Irish tradition:“Hazel? HAZEL? Dere’s hundreds of focken Saints in de focken calendar, an’ yer go an’ call ‘er after a focken NUT!”

Jansy Mello: I'm not particularly fond of VN's poems, perhaps because I cannot read Russian and I also lack a native speaker's feeling as regards his English poems. Nevertheless, what insistently attracts me to his novels is their poetry, the musicality of certain sentences and the personifications in particular.

I managed to find online Nabokov's opinions about the intermingling of poetry and prose at http://longform.org/stories/playboy-interview-vladimir-nabokov
Playboy: [ ] To what extent do you feel that prose and poetry intermingle as art forms?

Nabokov: Poetry, of course, includes all creative writing; I have never been able to see any generic difference between poetry and artistic prose. As a matter of fact, I would be inclined to define a good poem of any length as a concentrate of good prose, with or without the addition of recurrent rhythm and rhyme. The magic of prosody may improve upon what we call prose by bringing out the full flavor of meaning, but in plain prose there are also certain rhythmic patterns, the music of precise phrasing, the beat of thought rendered by recurrent peculiarities of idiom and intonation. As in today’s scientific classifications, there is a lot of overlapping in our concept of poetry and prose today. The bamboo bridge between them is the metaphor.

I once met a doctor who was named after the saints in de calendar, but his mother copied the entry verbatim : Arceb de Cantuária (Arch of Canterbury). Actually, it sounds very nice - and so does Hazel.
However, I had been hoping to hear more about the Purple/Red butterfly question, blending Iris and Hazel in the perspective adopted by Brian Boyd. The moving hands of ghosts remains a puzzle to me, particularly because it lacks "a sense of mystery."*


* - Playboy: You have also written that poetry represents “the mysteries of the irrational perceived through rational words.” But many feel that the “irrational” has little place in an age when the exact knowledge of science has begun to plumb the most profound mysteries of existence. Do you agree?
Nabokov: This appearance is very deceptive. It is a journalistic illusion. In point of fact, the greater one’s science, the deeper the sense of mystery.[ ]

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