NABOKV-L post 0008899, Tue, 11 Nov 2003 20:18:43 -0800

Fw: The Gift ch4
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kenny, Glenn" <>
To: "'D. Barton Johnson '" <>
Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 8:00 PM
Subject: RE: The Gift ch4

> Even WITHOUT familiarity w/ the history of Russian lit, or the history of
> Russia, for that matter-I myself had very little of either when I made my
> first foray into "DAR" ("The Gift")-the significance of Fyodor's "Chnsky"
> biography is not just that it's the work with which he finds his own
> voice-it's the work with which, if I may be excused for the vulgarity, he
> really finds his own balls, where he faces up to the fact that he has no
> choice but to write and speak fearlessly from his own convictions
> of the "friends" and connections it loses him; regardless of how it goes
> against social convention or conventional wisdom. It is the first genuine
> flowering of Fyodor's genius, and that is why it occupies the place of
> it has in the novel. And without having written it, he and Zina could not
> have earned the right to walk into the sunset (and the gorgeous, hidden
> Puskinian ode) of the novel's finale. It is also, of course, a compelling,
> witty and illuminating piece of writing in its own right.
> GK
> -----Original Message-----
> From: D. Barton Johnson
> Sent: 11/11/03 10:02 PM
> Subject: Fw: The Gift ch4
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dane Gill" <>
> >
> > ----------------- Message requiring your approval (12
> lines) ------------------
> > Greetings
> > This is a pretty straight forward question, but I have a feeling that
> the
> > answer I get won't be straight forward. I don't "get" ch.4. Why is it
> there?
> > I find it really disturbs the novel's flow and it really confuses
> the
> hell
> > out of me. Fyodor's other works are mentioned and bits are
> transcribed,
> but
> > his entire bio of Chnsky is produced. Why?
> > Dane Gill
> >
> EDNOTE. You really need familiarity with the history of Russian lit to
> "get" the central role of the Chernyshevsky chapter, author of one of
the worst and
> most influential novels ever written-- CHTO DELAT'(What is to be Done?)
> set in concrete (after 1925) the model for Socialist Realism which
> killed Russian lit until recent decades. Nabokov and his hero Fyodor
> directed their lives to reversing that dismal trend.