PS to In Lolita we find the neon-bars marking an object in close association to limpness and deathIn Ada, the link between tenderness and pity may lie subjacent to “ transparency of death and ardent beauty.” [   ]  If memory’s playfulness doesn’t misguide me, the critic Georg Steiner, as a child, was a specialist in heraldry…(G.Steiner is mentioned in the first chapter of ADA, if not also in other chapters)

I explored my books to find a confirmation for the link between Georg Steiner and heraldry I’d mentioned before, but ended up preferring the easier help of search tools:

“More than in his large and sometimes ponderous thoughts, Steiner's best comes in an unexpected image or turn of language. It turns the reader's imagination suddenly, the way a musical phrase does. His mention of heraldry is an example: It evokes his earliest intuition of how art and the great world link up. As a child, he was given a book with illustrations of hundreds of coats of arms. Resplendently reproduced, they were something more important than beautiful. Representing royalties, dukedoms and bishoprics from all parts of Europe, they were a talisman of life's teeming variety and of the ability of art uniquely to convey it. Nothing could be further, Steiner suggests, from the reductionist view of art that contemporary critical theory expounds.”


For G.Steiner and VN go to


and a post to the VN-L from 24.jul.2011 that starts with “Those discussing R.G. Stonelower might like to refresh their memory of what I offer in ADA Online at this point: 3.04transfigured . . . R. G. Stonelower: "R. G. Stonelower" combines George Steiner (1929- ) and Robert Lowell (1917-77), one a theoretician, the other a practitioner of the free translations into verse that Nabokov had been berating since he began his own very literal translation of Eugene Onegin in the early 1950s. Steiner's extolling Lowell's translations of Osip Mandelshtam (1891-1938) particularly exasperated Nabokov.[  ] The portmanteau "Stonelower" neatly packs into one word a reverse "Exegi monumentum," the Vandals attacking Horace. For other satirical name-compounds, see Lowden (127.32), Gerschizhevsky (225.27), Falknermann (371.31), “one Eelmann” (403.05-06). (Sergey Karpukhin, private communication). MOTIFS: metamorphosistrans-transfigure



In the meantime, I came to a “Sighting”:



‘Great Readers’, says Borges, who is himself one, are ‘rarer than great writers.’ The list would include Montaigne reading Seneca and re-reading himself; Coleridge reading Jacobi and Schelling;[  ] Péguy reading Corneille and Victor Hugo [  ]Mandelstam reading Dante and Chénier; Alexandre Koyré reading Galileo; Nabokov reading (not translating) Pushkin; Jean Starobinski reading Rousseau [  ] Servants to the text, scrupulous ecstatics, for in reference to the canonic, scruple and ecstasy are one.

A list of great critics? It would, no doubt, be longer and of greater public lustre. But is there need of such a list? Critics advertise.

George Steiner: A Reader, Penguin Books Ltd. 1984. Ch. ‘Critic’/’Reader’, 1979.




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