Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023703, Tue, 26 Feb 2013 02:02:10 -0300

Re: Epigraphs and versipel (correction)
Laurence Hochard refers to Michaël Wood's article on Nabokov:... "He says in a letter to his wife, rather oddly, that 'I myself don't fully register all the grief and bitterness of my situation." "I don't think anyone who hasn't experienced these feelings can properly appreciate them, the torment, the tragedy." The implication, clearly, is that a writer cannot have two languages, ..." ahd he adds: " ... as a man cannot have two loves/ V quotes Sebastian Knight's Lost Property quoting a love letter to a woman misdirected to a firm of traders (and which never reached its destination because of a plane crash) The anonymous author of the love letter experiences the same grief at leaving his love for another woman as VN at leaving Russian for another language.
"I cannot help feeling there is something essentially wrong about love. Friends may quarrel or drift apart, close relations too, but there is not this pang, this pathos, this fatality which clings to love ... Why, what is the matter? What is this mysterious exclusiveness? ... One may have a thousand friends but only one love-mate ... For if I say 'two', I have started to count and there is no end to it. There is only one real number: One. And love, apparently, is the best exponent of this singularity." (ch 12)

Jansy Mello: L.Hochard must have located the source for Michael Wood's conclusion about a (good) writer's impossibility to "have two languages" by connecting it to certain lines in RLSK and the singularity of love... L. Hochard's juxtaposition almost extracts Sebastian's musings from their fictional dimension, thus adding credibility and weight to Nabokov's love relation to one language.I expect that this kind of fidelity is part of what, somewhere else, Nabokov has written about his "serial souls."*


* "'Good-bye, my poor love. I shall never forget you and never replace you. It would be absurd of me to try and persuade you that you were the pure love, and that this other passion is but a comedy of the flesh. All is flesh and all is purity."

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