Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026385, Mon, 24 Aug 2015 10:45:12 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] EDNote: L disaster
EDNote--two recent posts have been captured by at least some spam filters, most likely because they had the L-word in the subject line. But even having Dolly's name too often within the body of a message may cause filters to kick in. So I encourage all to abbreviate the L-word within messages and in subject lines, every time. // The two posts that some will have missed concerned <https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1508&L=NABOKV-L&D=1&O=D&X=30966F2A17CD6414CA&Y=nabokv-l%40utk.edu&P=38247> Jane Austen hiding in H.H.'s narrative and, in response, a <https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1508&L=NABOKV-L&D=1&O=D&X=30966F2A17CD6414CA&Y=nabokv-l%40utk.edu&P=39225> partially answered query about VN's attitude towards female writers. Those clickable links should lead the curious to the proper destinations.

Jansy Mello: It took me some time to grasp what L-word means when the first warnings about spam filters came. This kind of censorship protects the recipients from unwanted emails, sure, but it’s still quite perplexing. To signal it with “L-distaster” is very apt: a lettercalamity.

Thanks, ED, for first items in a bibliography related to VN and women writers. I just remembered a comic instance: an ancient poet (Sappho) whose verses were parodied (in one of the meanings indicated by Mariya Lomakina.Cf. http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/110451/lomakina_1.pdf?sequence=1 <http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/110451/lomakina_1.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y,%20in%20one%20of%20the%20articles%20mentioned%20by%20our%20ED)*> &isAllowed=y, in one of the articles mentioned by our ED)* by a French writer (Pierre Louÿs and “Bilitis”), and who was cited at least twice in “ADA.” I have the impression that VN wasn’t indicating anything related to the parodies of “feminine” writings at this point, being chiefly intent on developing the theme of lesbian love: who knows?

He looked her over more closely than he had done before. He had read somewhere (we might recall the precise title if we tried, not Tiltil, that’s in Blue Beard...) that a man can recognize a Lesbian, young and alone (because a tailored old pair can fool no one), by a combination of three characteristics: slightly trembling hands, a cold-in-the-head voice, and that skidding-in-panic of the eyes if you happen to scan with obvious appraisal such charms as the occasion might force her to show (lovely shoulders, for instance). Nothing whatever of all that (yes — Mytilène, petite isle, by Louis Pierre) seemed to apply to Cordula, who wore a ‘garbotosh’ (belted mackintosh) over her terribly unsmart turtle and held both hands deep in her pockets as she challenged his stare. I,c.27

good Ida, far from abandoning Marina, with whom she had been platonically and irrevocably in love ever since she had seen her in ‘Bilitis,’ accused herself of neglecting Lucette by overindulging in Literature; consequently she now gave the child, in spurts of vacational zeal, considerably more attention than poor little Ada (said Ada) had received at twelve, after her first (miserable) term at school.I, c.31


* “Intertextual dialogue can indicate the degree of agreement or disagreement between writers and is especially relevant to Nabokov's art, in which actual women writers are present, either explicitly in his literary reviews, or implicitly in his fiction via intertextual references. It has been noted that Nabokov's penchant for parody creates an interesting game for the reader in decoding the writer's artistic riddles.[ ] In his chapter on parody, Yuri Tynianov explains that parody as being something mocking or comical is just a widespread definition of this term. At the beginning of the 19th century, there was a Slavic translation of the word “parody” from Greek, which is perepesn’/re-singing. This old definition belongs to the poet and literary theoretician Ostolopov (Dictionary of Ancient and Old Poetry/ N. Ostolopov. Slovar’ drevnei i novoi poezii, chast’ II St. Peterburg, 1821, p. 334). Although Ostolopov’s translation of parody was not assimilated as a literary term, it is exactly perepesn' or re-singing that, according to Tynianov, leads away from the already established and falsely precise characterization of parody [ ] This word did not assimilate; it is not applicable as a definition, because “song” is a too precise and literal translation of the component “ωδη”, – and yet, this word leads away from the already established and falsely precise word “parody”, and what is even more important, brings together the notions of parody and emulation, variation (re-song – re-singing) (Tynianov 293). According to Tynianov's definition of parody, the latter is somewhat closer to emulation, but as Herbert Grabes explains, intertextuality with Nabokov “poses particular problems, not only because he draws widely on various literatures – Russian and English to the hilt, French, German and American extensively enough to vex even competent readers,” but because “it is always part of a pervasive game structure that turns his texts into complex riddles” [ ] without the ridiculing aspect which the common meaning of parody implies. In his article, “Emulation, Anti-parody, Intertextuality, and Annotation,” Omry Ronen also points out that parody in its narrow sense is not the only way of dealing with already existing texts. When an artist evokes another writer in his own work, there can be three purposes for it: “emulation, that is, an artistic endeavor to equal or excel a certain model by selective imitation that intensifies its virtues and gently corrects its shortcomings; parody in the narrow sense, when a style is represented in such a way as to foreground and exaggerate its characteristic features, especially faults; and the anti-parody” (Ronen, “Emulation…” 65) “Anti-parody,” or “the revision and improvement” of other writers’ artistic tasks through the “artistic superiority of the new solution” (“Emulation” 65) is what Nabokov implements in his story “A Slice of Life.”/ The problem of Nabokov's attitude toward women writers has not received sufficient attention in scholarship heretofore and is an area of critical neglect. So far there has been remarkably little published on Nabokov and women writers, and that which exists tend to focus on the presence of English women writers in Nabokov and mostly in regard to Lolita. Several studies that deal specifically with the appearance of Russian women writers in Nabokov's art include those by Andrei Ar'ev, Gennady Barabtarlo, Barry Scherr, and Maxim Shrayer with the emphasis on Anna Akhmatova's legacy as represented in Nabokov's Pnin.” (Mariya Lomakina).

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