NABOKV-L post 0010628, Tue, 23 Nov 2004 12:20:34 -0800

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Fw: MISCELLANEOUS COMMENTS FROM DN #2
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----- Original Message -----
From: nabokov
To: 'D. Barton Johnson'
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2004 12:00 PM
Subject: MISCELLANEOUS COMMENTS FROM DN #2




MISCELLANEOUS COMMENTS, NOVEMBER 04, PART TWO



MEDICAL NEWS TODAY, 11.15.04 An article on a possible link between Asperger's Disorder and autism affirms that "Asperger's shares with autism a severe and sustained impairment in social interaction, and restricted and repetitive behavior and interests. [People with Asberger's] are often physically clumsy and awkward.... [and] may have an exceptional talent or skill with which they are preoccupied. It is conjectured that several people of remarkable genius may have had Asperger's -- including Albert Einstein, Vladimir Nabokov .... " The bizarre habitudes of Glenn Gould are also cited.

"Conjectured" by whom? I recognize none of my father's traits here except his genius. Of course he may have been preoccupied with his writing as opposed to faculty meetings, or the kind of boozy "interaction" some writers have been famous for, but he is remembered for the dashing, witty figure he cut on private and public occasions, and for the kind of interaction that counts most -- with his students, audiences, interviewers, and family. He was anything but clumsy and awkward, but a graceful tennis and soccer player, and precise in his movements, say, when working under the microscope on miniature lepidopterological organs. Repetitive? Of course -- genius is, above all, discipline. Restricted interests? It was his wealth of interests and knowledge that enabled him to write with Nabokovian richness.

I have come across this dim-witted diagnosis before. It accompanies the low-brow notion that, to be considered sane and healthy, one must fit some kind of moronic mould, while genius is, by definition, deviant.

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I had a few more details in mind, but I'll stop here. There is so much wonderful stuff posted on Nab-L by such bright and dedicated people that it would be silly to quibble over the occasional detail.

Warm greetings to all. DN