Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026953, Mon, 18 Apr 2016 11:11:00 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] Spring in Fialta
"Every time I had met her during the fifteen years of our—well, I fail to find the precise term for our kind of relationship—she had not seemed to recognize me at once [ ] My introductory scene with Nina had been laid in Russia quite a long time ago, around 1917 I should say, judging by certain left-wing theater rumblings backstage."
A. Sklyarenko:"1917 + 15 = 1932. The action in Spring in Fialta (1936) takes place in the spring of 1932. Incidentally, Nina of VN’s story has nothing to do with Irina Guadanini, just as Vasiliy (in the English version, Victor) is not the author’s self-portrait."

Jansy Mello: Many thanks for clarifying this point about the dates. My doubts concerning the special political undertones in this short-story remain.

I can also agree with you that Vasiliy (Victor), who narrates the story, is not the author's self-portrait. In certain ways the obnoxious Ferdinand, as described by Victor, has some of the qualities V.Nabokov finds in a good-writer and, probably, himself:

"I would rather not dwell upon him at all, but I cannot help it—he is surging up from under my pen.

[ ] Lean and arrogant, with some poisonous pun ever ready to fork out and quiver at you. [ ] Having mastered the art of verbal invention to perfection, he particularly prided himself on being a weaver of words, a title he valued higher than that of a writer; personally, I never could understand what was the good of thinking up books, of penning things that had not really happened in some way or other; and I remember once saying to him as I braved the mockery of his encouraging nods that, were I a writer, I should allow only my heart to have imagination, and for the rest rely upon memory, that long-drawn sunset shadow of one's personal truth." (SF, Nabokov)

"Another theory is that Nabokov is mocking himself – that Ferdinand embodies all of the author’s own traits, in a comically exaggerated manner. Nabokov hated literary criticism, as does Ferdinand. Nabokov is also known for his complex prose; he is, like Ferdinand, "a weaver of words" who writes about the fictional in what is occasionally a nearly "unintelligible" way." http://www.shmoop.com/spring-in-fialta/ferdinand.html

"... rely on the power of pure imagination. Incidentally, I tend more and more to regard the objective existence of all events as a form of impure imagination-- hence my inverted commas around 'reality'." (Vogue Interview, 1969)

" I would say that imagination is a form of memory. Down, Plato, clown, good dog. An image depends on the power of association, and association is supplied and prompted hy memory. When we speak of a vivid individual recollection we are paying a compliment not to our capacity of retention hut to Mnemosyne's mysterious foresight in having stored up this or that element which creative imagination may want to use when combining it with later recollections and inventions. In this sense, both memory and imagination arc a negation of time." (Interview, Wisonsin, 1967)

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