Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0027195, Thu, 6 Oct 2016 20:11:48 +0000

Re: [SIGHTING] Times Literary Suplement August/October 2016
JM:The specific link SD offered us encouraged me to explore an image found in today's TLS page that reminded me of a scene in Lynne's "Lolita" by the cartoonist Justin Green.
J.A: Interestingly, Daniel Clowes built an ambiguous reference to Lolita into his continuing Eight Ball comic book serial "Like a Velvet Glove Cast In Iron." There is an odd pubescent girl that comes up and mentions of "Hour Glass Lake." In later issues of Eight Ball he had a one panel of a plump man with a butterfly net, who clearly resembles Nabokov, toppling out of frame with the line, which I can only paraphrase as reading: "There's a pun in the next panel." Nabokov would have loved Clowes' marvelous weird, sophisticated art.).

Jansy Mello: There's still more Nabokov to read at the TLS pages. Such as "Nabokov's 'great gay comic novel'," by Edmund White.

"I never met Vladimir Nabokov face to face, though I exchanged phone calls and letters with him. My psychiatrist encouraged me to visit him in Switzerland, but I was too afraid that I would quickly sabotage close-up whatever good impression I might have managed to create long-distance. As an editor at the American Saturday Review, I had orchestrated a cover story dedicated to Nabokov on the publication of his novel Transparent Things (1972), and sent Antony Armstrong-Jones to take a portfolio of photographs.

[ ] At the time of the novel’s [ "Pale Fire" ] publication, many gay men were vexed by the satirical portrait, though now it seems perfectly acceptable. Gay critics are no longer prospecting for positive role models. What we have instead in Kinbote is a compendium of “period” gay images. The “Baron” (a fake title) Wilhelm von Gloeden’s staged photographs of Sicilian boys with cracked feet, peasant tans, hunger-bloated stomachs and coarse faces, wearing ancient Greek togas and laurel wreaths and holding papier maché lyres; Prussian porn and English gentlemen’s proclivities for willing, paid guardsmen; the aesthetes of Oscar Wilde’s day (a single tulip); the gay son of a famous womanizing king (Mad Ludwig and his royal father, lover of La Belle Otéro); the tennis champion Bill Tilden, whose spectacular playing made him famous in the 1920s – and whose paedophilia landed him in prison; “scoutmasters with something to hide”; idyllic romances with athletes and shepherd boys in the style of A. E. Housman, whose Shropshire Lad Kinbote admires above all other poems except for Tennyson’s equally fruity In Memoriam; the sailors so sought after as “rough trade” (non-reciprocating, drunk, heterosexual bullies): all are evoked here, a catalogue of male homosexual desire through the ages.// Nabokov took an entomologist’s delight in observing grotesqueries, but he could not resist lending Kinbote, at least in dreams, a little heterosexual tenderness for his Queen Disa

[ ] Even the index to Pale Fire is funny, and camp. We are told of a cordoned-off section of the royal picture gallery that “contains the statues of Igor’s 400 favourite catamites”. In the entry for Kinbote himself we discover inconsequential mentions of “his boyhood in Cedarn and the little angler, a honey-skinned lad, naked except for a pair of torn dungarees, one trouser leg rolled up . . . but then school started or the weather changed”. No matter that the little angler has never been mentioned until now." Edmund White

To my surprise I discovered a misquotation in the "entry for Kinbote himself... with inconsequencial mentions of 'his boyhood in Cedarn'..." from E. White's text as it appears in last week's online issue of the TLS. Charles Kinbote's ... "boyhood in Cedarn"?
In my copy I found "logcabin" instead. *

btw: "the little angler has bever been mentioned until now" (EWhite) fits in quite nicely with those theories that maintain that the Index was written by C. Kinbote.


* "his logcabin in Cedarn and the little angler, a honey-skinned lad, naked except for a pair of torn dungarees, one trouser leg rolled up, frequently fed with nougat and nuts, but then school started or the weather changed, 609;" V. Nabokov, "Pale Fire".

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