Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0021051, Fri, 10 Dec 2010 13:29:09 -0200

Re: query; music and Nabokov
Gary S Lipon: By topsy-turvical coincidence I was ....thumbing through Oliver Sacks' latest book, Musicophilia, and he quotes from SO, I believe, that VN was pretty amusical... He also quoted Dimitri on the topic from a forthcoming book. On the other hand I hear the line, the way you smile at dogs, as an allusion to Gershwin's 1937 song, They Can't Take That Away From Me.
Stan Kelly-Bootle (to S.Klein) I’m over-the-moon to see the VN additions on audible.com, to which club I’ve long been a happy subscriber....With VN also available in audio and film, we can now supplement our instruction re-listening and re-viewing ...Discuss: which of VN’s works would survive similar stochastic shufflings, beyond, of course, those performed by VN on his pack of cards...

JM: Topsy-turvy stochastic shufflings and coincidence... Suddenly Shade's silent stillicides became as audible as the lines that made them shine.
Nabokov's non-aleatory music might admit hopscotch readings, but I'm only certain of the "survival" of "Ada" and "LATH." Kinbote, in PF, added such purpose to his saltatory remarks that PF must be the most vulnerable under arbitrary chronologies. As Shade has acknowledged:
"Time means succession, and succession, change:/ Hence timelessness is bound to disarrange/ Schedules of sentiment."

Contrafacta, in music, is not illegal nor irregular (unlike countefeit leonardoes and plagiarism) - and this is another element from the musical world present in Nabokov ( sacred and profane self-references and to other mysterious authors).

Stan's employ of the word "stochastic" led me to an off-list message I got from Dave Haan yesterday (his blog is "Stochastic Bookmark" found at
http://nnyhav.blogspot.com/2005/08/high-road.html ) He sent me one of his poems whose "rhyme-scheme is taken from the road not taken (inverted within stanza), but meter is more stopping by woods", associating to my Nab-L posting on Nabokov and Frost. Its closing lines are:
"The adage that the poet coined
Struck me as sheer coincidence
When, further on, I came to sense
That far gone road my path rejoined
Without one whit of difference."

whereas in Frost we find:
"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

and both deal with random choice, convergences, differences or disjointed pecteption As in Shade's lines: "I cannot understand why from the lake/ I could make out our front porch when I’d take/ Lake Road to school.../ I look but fail to see/ Even the roof. Maybe some quirk in space/Has caused a fold or furrow to displace...."

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