Suellen Stringer-Hye wrote:
While I'm not prepared to enter into a serious discussion of whether VN was an American writer or not, it must be pointed out that VN himself often commented on his "Americanness" in Strong Opinions. Here's just one example of many:
26 Mc-Graw Hill 1973. Alvin Toffler: Though born in
am an American writer, born in Russian and educated in
This is an interesting quote. VN’s response seems precise, truthful and diplomatic; but if that’s all he said, then it evades Toffler’s question, and fails to answer it. Perhaps there is some other quote where VN specifically replies to the question about his strong sense of national identity. I assume VN carried an American passport in 1973 (if that’s when the interview took place). Presumably Albert Einstein and Wernher von Braun also carried American passports, but I find it extremely difficult to think of either of them as Americans, or as in any way products of American cultural values and educational systems.
There are numerous American writers
who express the essence of
Carolyn wrote (regarding VN’s bedrock beliefs on translation --- literal or non-literal):
We don't have to guess - - VN wrote some remarkable lines
What is translation? On
A poet's pale and glaring head, etc
these marvelous lines …. may well be the best thing VN ever wrote in English
I trust Carolyn's words have been fairly edited and extracted. VN’s “parrot” lines are quite well-known in literary translating circles, where they are regarded as an entertaining jeu d’esprit. Is Carolyn being serious? Is her critical acumen sparking on all six cylinders? If these lines are marvellous, and “the best thing VN ever wrote in English”, then, taken along with “English poetry has few things better to offer than ‘Pale Fire’”, and “VN's adjectival precision and aptness have no rival”, we might as well throw the rest of English literature into the trash-can.
Still; one man’s poison is another man’s poisson; what’s goose for the gander is gravy for the gourmet; disgustibus non disputanderum.
Nabokov, in Bend Sinister prefered to describe "dream producers" as..." usually several, mostly illiterate and middle-class and pressed by time" , but thankfully his animistic trait which I've been coming across over and over in the first chapters of this novel drops down and off in in VN's other novels to become brilliant metaphors.
He sounds as at his most "foreign" in BS…..
The last sentence seems to me 100%
true. In speaking of “dream producers” did VN have