NABOKV-L post 0021069, Wed, 15 Dec 2010 01:05:43 -0800

Nabokov and music

Hi everybody

Just in case anyone is still interested in the topic of Nabokov and
music, he has a story with just that title, “Music” (1932). The hero
resembles Nabokov in his acute visual and sensual imagination. For
example, an ex-wife whose memory won’t fade was apparently velvet-soft
all over: “One longed to gather her up the way one could gather up a
foal and its folded legs.”

However the hero has no ear:“[M]usic he did not know – and all he knew
was a dozen conventional tunes – could be likened to the patter of a
conversation in a strange tongue ...”)

Two comments. First, do not attempt to gather up a cute little velvety
foal unless you want to be badly injured by its cute but incredibly
strong little velvety legs.

Second, if the hero is at least somewhat a Nabokovian self-portrait,
then perhaps one of the conventional tunes is the Gershwin song adduced
by a hopeful poster earlier.

There is a very good and admirably brief analysis of the story at

All the best

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