Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020846, Thu, 7 Oct 2010 09:10:02 -0700

Re: THOUGHT: the whole codology
Well, of course, who could disagree with Tom in a general way? But what if
you're inside the Taj Mahal (or a beautiful maze) and can't find your way out?
How then can you enjoy the overview? Might not an architect's drawings (or a
map) be precisely what's needed? Anyhow, reading a novel doesn't have all that
much in common with appreciating a view or a painting.

As for Stan's other point, it's not that we turn to fiction to learn anything
new about, say, bad parenting. But we do generally hold fiction writers to
certain standards of believability in depicting child-parent relationships. I
don't see how anyone could deny that the following quotation from James Randi
helps to suggest the depths of Hazel's estrangement from her parents:

Poltergeists usually show up in homes where a discontented adolescent lives, and
the phenomena seem to take place only when that individual is present. When the
discontent is relieved, the mischief ceases. It is interesting to note that in a
significant percentage of these cases, the child is also adopted or living in a
foster home. --Randi, entry for "Poltergeist" in An Encyclopedia of Claims,
Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural (1995).

Jim Twiggs

From: Stan <stan@BOOTLE.BIZ>
Sent: Wed, October 6, 2010 11:33:29 PM
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] THOUGHT: the whole codology

Bravissimo, Tom. Power to your pen.

Pale Fire is a damn fine read and finer re-read. Who could ask for anything
more? © Ira Gershwin

Love the Higgs Boson quip, although, having studied the quirks of Quantum
Mechanics (at Dirac’s alma mater), there are ineffable differences in finding
the origins of mass, and determining if Pale Fire reveals anything we didn’t
know about the After Life or the perils of poor parenting and pedantic Literary

I’ve always thought it risky (but worthwhile) for authors to include a MAD
character in their narratives. Whether the mad person is truly insane or just
playing daft, the normal ‘contract’ between writer and reader is disturbed. I
mean, the writer is free to invent abnormal utterances and actions, forcing us
to suspend the judgments we apply to rational actors. We can’t tell if CK is
delusional all or some of the time, or lying with sane motives (also known as
CODDOLOGY; note spelling). Recall Polonius on Hamlet:
Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.

Stan Kelly-Bootle

On 07/10/2010 03:47, "NABOKV-L" <NABOKV-L@HOLYCROSS.EDU> wrote:

Tom Rymour writes:
>Dear All,
>Re the hunt for codology in Pale Fire(AKA the Higgs boson of Nabokov
>studies) I recall a conversation with an academic in 1998. She was one of
>the three judges who had just seen fit to give me a literary award for a
>work of satirical fantasy. I asked her if she ever dabbled in fiction, and
>she said: "Good heavens, no! there are only two kinds of people -- those
>who write and those who write about them. You're one and I'm the other.
>And if it wasn't for chaps like you, we'd have nothing to do!"
>It strikes me that Old McNab has given an awful lot of people a great deal
>to be getting on with. Personally, I'm content to look at the Taj Mahal by
>moonlight, rather than pore over architectural drawings of it.
>Hugs and kisses...
>Tom (Rymour)
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