NABOKV-L post 0010591, Mon, 15 Nov 2004 14:12:12 -0800

Re: Fw: time synchronization:
----- Forwarded message from -----
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2004 19:08:58 -0300
From: Jansy Berndt de Souza Mello <>

Greg´s comments were very helpful to me, though it still surprises me how
angrily one author may criticize another. After all, since writers are seldom
philosophers ( Camus and Sartre had to pay a high price for trying both ) the
most important item should remain the evocative power and aesthetic achievement
of their novels, also the way they make their choices to apply certain poetic
resources to explore intuitions and emotions without the "hindrances" of a
scientific discipline.
I think that one of Nabokov´s special gifts lies in his ability to evoke almost
magical states of mind in the present which, by the help of his art, we are
then able to explore through words along the paths of our own remembrance. And
yet, for those unable to experience VN´s "senesthesia", only those "happy
accidents" Greg referred to can bring about such a wonderful convergence of
various sensory stimuli.
When Greg approached the description of the photographs taken by Kim ( in Ada )
to Eliot´s "poor snapshots of memory" he made this point quite clear since many
writers can only offer the reader that kind of flat mnemonic image ( this is not
the case of Proust!), despite their other talents, while VN adds a third,
sometimes even a fourth dimension to every scene he "presents" us.
Greg's original message:

Nabokov largely rejected Proust's theory of involuntary memory. 'Speak, Memory'
probably explains this best, in that for VN the past was not only readily
accessible at whim but a part of the present as well. I have a sneaky feeling
he may have been goaded into his position on involuntary memory by TS Eliot's
remarks on Proust, particularly those about the 'poor snapshots of memory' (in
ADA, the lightning flash acts as a camera capturing the Veens enjoying an
unforgettable evening around the table). Nabokov felt that his powers of
voluntary memory were more than capable of reinvoking the past without the need
of happy 'accidents' like tripping up on uneven paving stones or munching on
tisane-soaked madeleines!

Hope this helps.

All the best everyone,

Glasgow, Scotland

----- End forwarded message -----