NABOKV-L post 0026590, Sun, 1 Nov 2015 03:25:54 +0000

Re: RES: [NABOKV-L] ENC: [NABOKV-L] The name of L*lita... Occam's
I  think the reason there is so much squabbling on this front is that Nabokov insisted to an unusual degree on his total originality, claiming that he was influenced by NO ONE! not Joyce's Ulysses, despite the incident with the lost key at the end of The Gift seeming an obvious joke on all the shennanigans with the lost key in Ulysses; not Kafka, whose story about a man arrested for no good reason supposedly bears absolutely no relationship whatever to N.'s story about a man arrested for no good reason--and maybe these resemblances (which Nabokov pretends noticing is a philistine manner of generalizing away individual work rather than the mark of the hawk-eyed reader) may only be coincidental. And perhaps Nabokov is right when he informed an interviewer that his stye was fully formed by the time he read Joyce and so therefore he was beyond influence--even though we may well wonder if "style" is as static as this suggests or if in fact one's literary tool box can always be added to over time. And maybe Nabokov really did make especially sure to learn nothing whatsoever from Gogol as he said, despite M'Sieur Pierre's in Invitation to a Beheading having a distinct resemblance to Chichikov whom  N. has discussed an awful lot in and out of fiction. And I guess it's possible Nabokov is right when he claims in the introduction to King, Queen, Knave that his little imitations of Madame Bovary do not constitute an "influence" because they are a deliberate form of homage, as if influence were defined as unonsciously aping the manner and subject matter of another author.

There's so much Anxiety of Influence in N.'s thinking that the subject of his borrowing a title and situation from another source is a bigger deal than it would be with other authors. N. is so freaked out by the idea we'll dismiss his artistic originality that he resorts in his denials to placing us into the position of the author's dysfunctional children, expected to ignore the parent's contradictions, forced to deny what we read with our own eyes, that there is a whole darn lot of influence in the work, because otherwise we're calling him a liar, and nobody wants to do that. But really everyone's influenced by everything. Nabokov was influenced for Lolita by the Prince Stavrogin confession in Dostoyevsky's The Possessed, a real life kidnapping case in America, the case of a sex maniac in his favorite psychiatrist's ouevre whose name escapes me now. Lichberg, would be only one more. N. probably read this guy and didn't fess up about it--I'm skeptical of this cryptomnesia idea. What's the big deal? Hadn't there been other versions of Lear before Shakespeare? which no one much cares about these days. It'd be the same with this other Lolita, nothing would be taken away from Nabokov, yet Maar's reputation is being impugned when he's just trying to do an honest job, no matter whether one agrees with his conclusions or not--yet we're not we're not supposed to even entertain the idea Lichberg might make a nice footnote in papers on Lolita, because N. claimed he's completely original to such a literal degree that one sometimes wonders how he managed to invent breaking up narratives into chapters and figured out how to use quotation marks with attributions like "he said" and "she said," a very old fashioned device developed in parrallell to literature by the author apparently, since he never imitated one thing in his life. Obviously I'm being silly, but if you were to buy fully into N.'s bluster then things this basic come into question. The same with Vera Nabokov's claim that her husband never uttered one cliche or common place in or out of his work. Yes he did, though if you tone down the hyperbole you understand she means he was a great and unique artist and person. Who wouldn't agree with that? Instead the whole situation is being taken by some to say: Nabokov was a sneaky theif, when actually they're just starcrossed lovers of Nabokov's stellar masterpiece!

On Saturday, October 31, 2015 7:24 PM, Jansy Mello <jansy.mello@OUTLOOK.COM> wrote:

ENC: [NABOKV-L] The name of L*lita<!--#yiv0012476916 _filtered #yiv0012476916 {font-family:"Cambria Math";panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;} _filtered #yiv0012476916 {font-family:Calibri;panose-1:2 15 5 2 2 2 4 3 2 4;} _filtered #yiv0012476916 {font-family:Garamond;panose-1:2 2 4 4 3 3 1 1 8 3;}#yiv0012476916 #yiv0012476916 p.yiv0012476916MsoNormal, #yiv0012476916 li.yiv0012476916MsoNormal, #yiv0012476916 div.yiv0012476916MsoNormal {margin:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;font-size:12.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman", serif;}#yiv0012476916 h1 {margin-top:12.0pt;margin-right:0cm;margin-bottom:0cm;margin-left:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;font-size:16.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman", serif;color:#2E74B5;font-weight:normal;}#yiv0012476916 h2 {margin-top:2.0pt;margin-right:0cm;margin-bottom:0cm;margin-left:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;font-size:13.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman", serif;color:#2E74B5;font-weight:normal;}#yiv0012476916 a:visited, #yiv0012476916 span.yiv0012476916MsoHyperlinkFollowed {color:purple;text-decoration:underline;}#yiv0012476916 p {margin-right:0cm;margin-left:0cm;font-size:12.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman", serif;}#yiv0012476916 span.yiv0012476916Ttulo1Char {font-family:"Garamond", serif;color:#2E74B5;}#yiv0012476916 span.yiv0012476916Ttulo2Char {font-family:"Garamond", serif;color:#2E74B5;}#yiv0012476916 span.yiv0012476916msonormal0 {}#yiv0012476916 span.yiv0012476916EstiloDeEmail21 {font-family:"Garamond", serif;font-variant:normal;color:black;text-transform:none;text-decoration:none none;vertical-align:baseline;}#yiv0012476916 .yiv0012476916MsoChpDefault {font-size:10.0pt;} _filtered #yiv0012476916 {margin:70.85pt 3.0cm 70.85pt 3.0cm;}#yiv0012476916 div.yiv0012476916WordSection1 {}-->Jansy Mello: Why do Nabokovians need to believe that: (a) VN spoke almost no German and had never read von Lichberg’s story; or(b) VN suffered from cryptomnesia; or(c) VN practiced “higher cribbing” and “consciously borrowed and quoted” from von Lichberg’s “Lolita”?*As I inquired a few postings ago, why does it seem so difficult to imagine that VN had actually read Von Lichberg’s book -  among all the other suggestive novels and poems related to the name “Lolita”?  That, instead of finding in it a source of inspiration, he felt robbed of his tactics related to a “personal myth” (M. Couturier on the theme of “nymphettes”), by a minor writer whose name he didn’t even deign to mention to avoid giving him an importance he didn’t seem to deserve? That he might be subtly acknowledging Lolita’s “ancestrality” by way of a wordplay using German “Lolitchen” and “Lottelita”, and choosing Germanic surnames for Lolita’s maternal grandmother (Becker) and her married name (Schiller)?  The hypotheses described above were not discussed or acknowledged at the VN-L after I presented them  and, since I drowned them under loads of citations, I’m submitting them again for your appraisal since, after the idea occurred to me, I felt a curious sense of harmony and developed a special fondness for it.  …………………………………………………………………………………………………………
*The Ecstasy of Influence - A plagiarism by Jonathan Lethem (2007) “Consider this tale: a cultivated man of middle age looks back on the story of an amour fou, one beginning when, traveling abroad, he takes a room as a lodger. The moment he sees the daughter of the house, he is lost. She is a preteen, whose charms instantly enslave him. Heedless of her age, he becomes intimate with her. In the end she dies, and the narrator — marked by her forever — remains alone. The name of the girl supplies the title of the story: Lolita. /The author of the story I’ve described, Heinz von Lichberg, published his tale of Lolita in 1916, forty years before Vladimir Nabokov’s novel. Lichberg later became a prominent journalist in the Nazi era, and his youthful works faded from view. Did Nabokov, who remained in Berlin until 1937, adopt Lichberg’s tale consciously? Or did the earlier tale exist for Nabokov as a hidden, unacknowledged memory? The history of literature is not without examples of this phenomenon, called cryptomnesia. Another hypothesis is that Nabokov, knowing Lichberg’s tale perfectly well, had set himself to that art of quotation that Thomas Mann, himself a master of it, called “higher cribbing.” Literature has always been a crucible in which familiar themes are continually recast. Little of what we admire in Nabokov’s Lolita is to be found in its predecessor; the former is in no way deducible from the latter. Still: did Nabokov consciously borrow and quote?”
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