NABOKV-L post 0010850, Mon, 20 Dec 2004 20:36:37 -0800

Subject
Re: Fwd: Re: Signs and Symbols
Date
Body
EDCOMMENT. Jansy's Baudelaire quote is very striking in the S&S context.

----- Forwarded message from jansy@aetern.us -----
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 20:18:54 -0300
From: Jansy Berndt de Souza Mello <jansy@aetern.us>

Dear List,

We don´t have to accept the verdict of anybody´s technical opinion to stop us
from realizing that the description:
"... Clouds in the staring sky transmit to one another, by means of slow signs,
incredibly detailed information regarding him. His inmost thoughts are discussed
at nightfall, in manual alphabet, by darkly gesticulating trees 9...).
Everything is a cipher and of everything he is the theme. Some of the spies are
detached observers, such are glass surfaces and still pools; others,such as
coats in store windows, are prejudiced witnesses, lynchers at heart; others
again (running water, storms) are hysterical to the point of insanity, have a
distorted opinion of him and grotesquely misinterpret his actions (...) With
distance the torrents of wild scandal increase in volume and volubility. The
silhouettes of his blood corpuscles, magnified a million times, flit over vast
plains; and still farther, great mountains of unbearable solidity and height
sum up in terms of granite and groaning firs the ultimate truth of his being".
...

isn´t really altogether delusional, despite the apt "referential mania" Dr.
Brink (!) diagnosed.
In my opinion, these gorgeous metaphors describe the flights of the purest
poetic imagination: Nabokov´s!

Anthony Stadlen wrote: Why should we accept, just because it is poetically
presented, the jargon of clinical psychiatric generalisation, medicalisation,
reification, dehumanisation, and hopelessness? Or is it the case that VN saw
through psychoanalysis but did not see through the far worse insult to human
dignity that is presented by clinical psychiatry?

And yet, although I agree with Stadlen that the story ( read through the vertex
he adopted ) can offer us an example of possible wrong uses of clinical
psychiatry - of which VN was certainly aware here - I don´t think that it was
simply the "jargon of clinical psychiatric generalization" that had been "
poetically presented"!

It was VN´s brilliant rendering of the boy´s sensations in a way that allowed us
to see the proximity of a "sane" poet´s imagination and "madness".

Just one of a thousand examples, here I link VN´s sentence: " his inmost
thoughts are discussed at nightfall, in manual alphabet, by darkly
gesticulating trees" to Charles Baudelaire.

CORRESPONDENCES
Nature is a temple where some living
Columns sometimes let confused words escape;
Man passes there through forests of symbols
Which look at him with familiar glances.
Charles Baudelaire

Andrew Brown observed that "an omniscient narrator requires the writer to count
on the reader's coming through with the old 'willing suspension of disbelief'
stuff". But he decided that " the 'incurable madness' of the young man is a
condition we're obliged to accept
at face value, just as we are the statement that the father's dentures are
'hopelessly uncomfortable'", because for him " in S&S we have a deranged son
instead of a unprepossessing daughter", incapable of "art and artifice". But
the author is capable of art and artifice and of portraying a situation in
various levels: a deranged son´s referential mania, his parent´s understanding,
the author´s Author compassion, and a double entry for "corrrespondences" .
Andrew Brown´s conclusion about VN´s compassion and his ability to convey
infinite tenderness in S&S is brilliantly conveyed, as are the psychotic´s
sufferings and a deranged son´s family´s plight as it also was delineated by
him. But, at the same time, we can also find in S&S a glimpse of every great
poet´s visions.
Jansy

----- Original Message -----
From: Donald B. Johnson
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 2:33 PM
Subject: Fwd: Re: Signs and Symbols




----- Forwarded message from STADLEN@aol.com -----
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 05:46:09 EST
From: STADLEN@aol.com


Andrew Brown makes some good points. I withdraw my statement that it was
presumably because of "embarrassment" that the son was deposited in the
sanatorium. Nevertheless, the father does imply that he is going to have to
justify to
"the Prince" removing his son from the santorium .

The couple have a two-roomed flat with only one bedroom, but it is evidently
expensive to keep their son in the sanatorium. The implication is that,
although the money for the sanatorium might have been used to rent a
two-bedroomed
flat, the couple has had no expectation, perhaps for four years, that the son
will ever return home. How is the son supposed to feel about that? Or are we
simply supposed to take it, as we have to according to Mr Brown, because we
must
treat the narrator as "omniscient", that the son has no "desires" in this
matter?

If the narrator told us the earth was flat, would we have to accept that? If
the narrator started spouting Freudian jargon would we have to accept that? We
would surely take it that there was a tension between author and narrator, if
the author were VN. Why should we accept, just because it is poetically
presented, the jargon of clinical psychiatric generalisation, medicalisation,
reification, dehumanisation, and hopelessness? Or is it the case that VN saw
through psychoanalysis but did not see through the far worse insult to human
dignity
that is presented by clinical psychiatry?

Anthony Stadlen

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



------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Andrew Brown makes some good points. I withdraw my statement that it was
presumably because of "embarrassment" that the son was deposited in the
sanatorium. Nevertheless, the father does imply that he is going to have to
justify to "the Prince" removing his son from the santorium .

The couple have a two-roomed flat with only one bedroom, but it is evidently
expensive to keep their son in the sanatorium. The implication is that,
although the money for the sanatorium might have been used to rent a
two-bedroomed flat, the couple has had no expectation, perhaps for four years,
that the son will ever return home. How is the son supposed to feel about that?
Or are we simply supposed to take it, as we have to according to Mr Brown,
because we must treat the narrator as "omniscient", that the son has no
"desires" in this matter?

If the narrator told us the earth was flat, would we have to accept that? If
the narrator started spouting Freudian jargon would we have to accept that? We
would surely take it that there was a tension between author and narrator, if
the author were VN. Why should we accept, just because it is poetically
presented, the jargon of clinical psychiatric generalisation, medicalisation,
reification, dehumanisation, and hopelessness? Or is it the case that VN saw
through psychoanalysis but did not see through the far worse insult to human
dignity that is presented by clinical psychiatry?

Anthony Stadlen

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