NABOKV-L post 0011158, Sun, 6 Mar 2005 13:10:48 -0800

Fw: VN speaks for himself to on pets,peats and petards

----- Original Message -----
From: Jansy Berndt de Souza Mello
Sent: Sunday, March 06, 2005 11:45 AM
Subject: VN speaks for himself to on pets,peats and petards

Dear List,

There is an important reference in VN´s lecture on Joyce which I couldn´t find yesterday but that I can now add:

I´m copying from Fredon Bowers edition of Lectures on Literature, page 287:

"Another consideration in relation to Bloom: those so many who have written so much about "Ulysses" are either very pure men or very depraved men. They are inclined to regard Bloom as a very ordinary nature, and apparently Joyce himself intended to portray an ordinary person. It is obvious, however, that in the sexual department Bloom is, if not on the verge of insanity, at least a good clinical example of extreme sexual preoccupation and perversity with all kinds of curious complications. His case is strictly heterosexual, of course - not homosexual as most of the ladies and gentlemen are in Proust (...) - but within the wide limits of Bloom´s love for the opposite sex he indulges in acts and dreams that are definitely subnormal in the zoological, evolutional sense. I shall not bore you with a list of his curious desires, but this I will say: in Bloom´s mind and in Joyce´s book the theme of sex is continually mixed and intertwined with the theme of the latrine. God knows I have no objection whatsoever to so-called frankness in novels. On the contrary, we have too little of it, and what there is has become in its turn conventional and trite, as used by so-called tough writers, the darlings of the book clubs, the pets of clubwomen. But I do object to the folowing: Bloom is supposed to be a rather orginary citizen. Now it is not true that the mind of an ordinary citizen continuously dwells on physiological things. I object to the continuously, not to the disgusting. All this very special pathological stuff seems artificial and unnecessary in this particular context".
There are other comments by VN about Joyce´s and Bloom´s "extraordinariness" which are as vivid as the one here quoted.
Young Eric´s or any Veen or Zemski (explicit) sexual fantasy should not be confused with VN´s own, to the point of " continuously" permeating his novel like a bass background.

VN ( on page 346) writes about Joyce´s parodies :
"We can thus define clichés as bits of dead prose and of rotting poetry. However the parody has its interruptions. Now what Joyce does here is to cause some of that dead and rotten stuff to reveal here and there its live source, its primary freshness (...) Joyce manages to build up something real - pathos, pity, compassion - out of the dead formulas which he parodies".

I also think that this very real, compassionate and golden atmosphere is something VN achieved in ADA, albeit by other means no less "extraordinary". Paradise regained?