Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020681, Mon, 6 Sep 2010 16:23:33 -0300

Re: from world to word: the alternative way
Stan: Alexey's version of word-golf allows replacement, addition or deletion of a single letter at each 'stroke.' It also lets you shift languages. This is not a complaint. Merely a reminder that some word-golf versions are much EASIER than others. It's hard to PIN [sic] down THE original, but my impression was that VN's preferred version allowed a single language (typically English) and only a single-letter REPLACEMENT at each stage. The point of the word GOLF, of course, is that we seek the FEWEST strokes/transitions. (And maybe poorer wordsmiths can demand a HANDICAP system? Let's not explore Tiger Woods' cheating to reach birdie holes ...)
Stan 2: For what it's worth (un pet de lapin?) Mikhail BOTVINNIK (1911-95) was a leading Soviet Chess Grandmaster, becoming World Champion first in 1948. I'm sure the startling near-anagram has been spotted by others. Remove VIN ( = I, VN!) and out comes our two-faced deceiver. Jansy, methinks, reads too much into the literal string-matches with the letters KIN. ..I was pleased to see one recent contributor reminding us that Pale Fire is, after all, a SATIRE...(Paraphrasing an earlier quip on Keatsian scholarship, 'Not one of Pushkin's Laundry Lists must go unexamined!') I trust that this encourages MORE and BETTER Pale Fire analysis?

JM: Not even by learning through osmosis will I be able to play mathematical games, Stan. "Include me out" (to quote an MGM's producer).

I loved your cunning "Lapin petoyant" (no damage to the ozone layer?), which served to pin and link the first and second messages you just posted. You are right to criticize me by having followed literal string-matches with KIN to indicate Pushkin. However, sometimes VN himself indulged in just the same kind of lap (-in).

Perhaps I'm wrong (I'm used to that!) but I understood Sklyarenko's long word-golf to demonstrate ADA's blend of "Amerussia" and this is why he employed a different set of rules - just this time.
His reference to "left sides," and Czar Peter I, encouraged me to read Shade's comment on Kinbote's turning a new page with his left hand to create Zembla ( so silly of me to have forgotten that!).

btw: Not only is the entire novel a satire, but also Shade's poem - and your examples are great( "E.g., we have Shade, a not-that-great fictional, academic poet using inappropriate prosody to ponder Life's major and minor ontologies. VN has Shade pen both the greatest lines since Keats, and the funniest doggerel since McGonnigal" ), because you join the mystical, the lyric, and the fun-loving self-critical dimension ( that's the second time I mention your integrative abilities). Your comment helped me to feel Charles Kinbote's peculiarly stiff humor stand out (if I may say so).

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