Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0008737, Mon, 13 Oct 2003 15:33:41 -0700

Fw: Dmitri Nabokov responds to Andrew Brown
----- Original Message -----

From: Dmitri Nabokov
Dear Andrew Brown,
I appreciate your suggestion. Been there, done that. Friend Martin, in fact, was most encouraging with regard to my stillborn novel.

I agree with much of what you say about him. He, like other original and gifted artists, has in some instances made himself vulnerable. His reactions to the paternal challenge were perhaps facilitated because it is sometimes easier to question and, on occasion, disagree than it is to admire greatly and, without copying, emulate.


----- Original Message -----
From: Andrew Brown <mailto:as-brown@comcast.net>
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2003 4:17 PM
Subject: Re: Dmitir Nabokov responds to Dane Gill's

Mr. Nabokov,

I would respectfully suggest you discuss your literary inclinations with Mr. Martin Amis, who, I believe, you are friendly with.

Personally, I have a high regard for Mr. Amis's work (while reserving the qualification, with which I think both you and Martin would agree, that it is not in the same league as your father's work), and he has examined with rare insight the challenge of paternal literary influences in his own biographical writings.

While elbowing my way into your attention, let me at least take the opportunity to say that I am among that minority who believe, as I think you do, that Martin's second biographical book Koba was a success (though flawed in places, I think, since few writers hit home runs every time they step up to the plate), and not the failure that so many modern critics have claimed it to be.

Martin Amis is quite beleagured at the moment, at least in England, but I have immense respect for him and believe that, in the long view of critical apprehension, his work will stand up long after the current crop of magazine scribblers have passed on into silent obscurity.

Andrew Brown

----- Original Message -----
From: D. Barton Johnson <mailto:chtodel@cox.net>
Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2003 1:27 PM
Subject: Dmitir Nabokov responds to Dane Gill's

----- Original Message -----
From: Dmitri Nabokov
Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2003 8:49 AM
Subject: reply to Dane Gill

I would like to answer Dane Gill's thoughtful questions.

I am sporadically assembling an autobiography, which will include, if I ever get it finished, echoes of items that have already been published here and there, and a good deal more. As Dane Gill supposes, some personal thoughts and recollections will touch on my father. As for a proper biography of VN, that task has been brilliantly accomplished by Brian Boyd. Like many people, I have come face to face with the prospect of creative writing. Here I cannot avoid a sense of enormous challenge and responsibility. My father and I had a superb relationship, full of modesty and humor on his part. While he never made it seem a daunting burden or a filial obligation, he was pleased at the thought that I might write something of my own, and even, on occasion, would suggest a plot or theme or offer benevolent criticism. I had other wonderful teachers -- John Ciardi, for example. But while my father was alive I had trouble writing on a mature level. After his death, through some recondite process of inheritance, I succeeded in composing a few short pieces -- essays, memoirs -- that more or less satisfied me. As for creative writing, I completed an odd kind of novel that appealed to some of my indulgent friends and that may have shown some promise, but that will never be published. I have started something else, but stopped work on it after a couple of chapters. I could put the blame on my busy and complex daily life, but that is not a valid excuse (most people are busy). To be quite honest, while I have faced many dangers, this is the one domain that truly intimidates me.