Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015349, Tue, 3 Jul 2007 17:37:53 +0100

On 2/7/07 21:55, "Earl Sampson" <esamson3@COMCAST.NET> wrote:

> The Dictionary.com Word of the Day for yesterday (July 1) was
> "ratiocination"; one of the examples of its use reads:
> There is no question that Joyce and Nabokov. . . brilliantly explored
> and expanded the limits of language and the structure of novels, yet
> both were led irresistibly and obsessively to cap their careers with
> those cold and lifeless masterpieces, "Finnegans Wake" and "Ada," more
> to be deciphered than read by a handful of scholars whose pleasure is
> strictly ratiocination.
> -- "How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love 'Barry Lyndon'", New York
> Times, January 11, 1976
> I have never even attempted "Finnegans Wake" despite strong
> encouragement from an English Literature teacher 50 + years ago, but
> how anyone could label "Ada" "cold and lifeless"...
> Earl Sampson
> Art is not difficult because it wishes to be difficult, but because it
> wishes to be art.
> - Donald Barthelme

Earl: I was re-reading the warm & lively Ada last night. And I regularly
swim in the wakeful poly-pools of Finnegan. Your anon. reviewer is sadly
deceived. I think VN would use the Stronger Opinion: ³Irretrievably

I¹ve always taken the rather inkhorn term Œratiocination¹ as Œformal or
logical thought,¹ and, of course, as a mathematician, I can agree that some
aspects of formal logic must appear cold and lifeless to the outsider
(indeed, to some insiders.) Yet to see Joyce¹s FW or Nabokov¹s Ada as cold
and lifeless, presumably because they encourage Œthoughtful¹ attention to
allusive layers of meaning, fair takes the biscuit.

Here¹s my VN sighting from yesterday¹s THE (London, bien entendu) TIMES
(Monday July 2, 2007)

ŒThe authors [of ³Cinema for Managers² Francesco Bogliari, Ed.] also
recommend ³Murder on the Orient Express² (1974), directed by Sidney Lumet,
as a ³perfect example of teamwork,² and Stanley Kubrick¹s ³Lolita² (1967),
which offers ³lessons about seduction and betrayal² that will come in useful
when playing the stock market.¹

The gist of the book is that business execs can learn more about management
techniques from movies than from plumpen manuals.
Why not, says I? But the stated reason for including ³Lolita² in the fifty
most managerially-helpful films seems bizarre.

All of which prompts me to send greetings to Dmitri, hoping that the mooted
movie ³Ada² will provide suitable lessons for Bogliari¹s managers! Perhaps:
how to live a long, randy life?

Stan Kelly-Bootle

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