Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015502, Wed, 26 Sep 2007 12:25:31 -0500

FW: [NABOKV-L] Nabokov in Eastern Promises
From the Blog "Dispatches from Zembla"

Thursday, July 14, 2005

David Cronenberg and Nabokov

David Cronenberg in an interview, rather interestingly titled as The
Baron of Blood Does Bergman
> , says that his favourite writer is Nabokov. When asked if the idea of
the fragility of memories and self-knowledge that he explored in his
film Spider <http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1120292-spider/> has
anything to do with Nabokov, he replies:

In his case very specifically, yeah. A past that he was severed from
before he wanted to be. He's one of my favorite writers. He was an
important figure for me. One of the reasons I'm not a novelist,
probably, is because I kept writing pastiches of Nabokov. Whereas when I
came to filmmaking I felt quite free.

I personally found Cronenberg's Spider to be extremely pessimistic about
the nature of memory and the possibility of self-knowledge and
coming-to-terms with one's past, and so poles apart from Nabokov's
Speak, Memory which is a homage full of love on the altar of Mnemosyne
(the goddess of memory). Can we recreate through artistic imagination
what has been irretrivably lost? Nabokov and Proust surely think we can.
Cronenberg is not so optimistic. He thinks that even if we are able to
recreate our pasts it will be nothing but the sum of our delusions. Self
is an illusion, only fear, anxiety and sexual pathologies are real (a
very David Lynchian concept!).

Suellen Stringer-Hye

Vanderbilt University


Email: suellen.stringer-hye@Vanderbilt.Edu


From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] On
Behalf Of Joshua Roberts
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 8:06 PM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Nabokov in Eastern Promises

There are fleeting but quite significant references to Nabokov,
specifically The Defense, in Eastern Promises, the new film by David
Cronenberg presently playing in North American theaters.

Late in the film, the last name of Viggo Mortensen's character, a
serious Russian gangster, is pronounced: Luzhin. Also, the set piece of
the film, an incredibly violent fight between a naked Mortensen and two
men armed with knives, occurs in a bath house whose black and white
tiles clearly suggest a chess board.

Joshua Roberts


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