One needs only to read a few pages of Burton’s translation to see the parasitical relationship of the author to the host text. Like Kinbote, Burton tries to control the reader's response through insistent reminders of his views at the foot of nearly every page.
Nabokov refers to Burton’s translation of Ben Sirine’s The perfumed Garden in Ada and Lolita. However, Kinbote’s similarity with Burton makes one suspect Nabokov might have been familiar with Burton’s Nights. It’s good to ask Nabokov scholars if there is any evidence that shows he has ever read Burton’s Nights.
--- On Fri, 8/27/10, Stephen Blackwell <sblackwe@UTK.EDU> wrote:
From: Stephen Blackwell <sblackwe@UTK.EDU>
Subject: [NABOKV-L] PF and Burton and stars
Date: Friday, August 27, 2010, 9:55 PM
It has been one of the list's most enervating days, I think, and I'm full of admiration, gratitude, and more than a little envy towards those who've produced the day's discoveries (especially those heavy, star-produced elements in the scissors!). I'm particularly intrigued that Richard Burton's translations have come up, since I offered his translation of Catullus as one possible source of the phrase "light of my life" in the latest Nabokovian
--although I preferred Philip Sidney's Astrophil and Stella
in the end. But even there--it's the "star" theme, and one remembers "the star, the star" from The Gift
, Starover Blue in PF
, "Gray Star" and "Stella Fantasia," in Lolita
, exploding stars in "Father's Butterflies", and--what else? I'm sure there's much more, but these are the ones that come immediately to mind.
Gholamreza Shafiee:Another possible model for Kinbote is Richard Burton, the famous translator of 1001 Nights, whose kinky and highly personal notes VN might have read while working on his Eugene Onegin translation/annotation. This is of course not my find. It is Robert Irwin’s view in The Companion to Arabian Nights.
JM: Richard Burton is mentioned in “Ada” at least twice ( and “The Perfumed Garden”), so it is highly probable that VN was acquainted with the bulk of his translations. Nevertheless, I don’t see Kinbote as being modeled after Burton, perhaps a little of Sheherazade? Nabokov once denied being familiar with John Barth, so I don’t think thered be any link with Barth’s works and “Chimera” comes later, anyway (1971?)
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