NABOKV-L post 0008947, Fri, 21 Nov 2003 15:35:15 -0800

Subject
Fw: Casta Diva? ADA
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Casta Diva?
----- Original Message -----
From: David Morris
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2003 2:18 PM
Subject: RE: Casta Diva? ADA


I agree with Carolyn in the sense that the presumed "hidden" story in Ada is so obscure that it isn't even recognized to exist by some. By "not getting it" Carolyn does NOT mean she can't follow the basic story line, as I'm sure D. Barton Johnson knows. Ada's surface story of an incestuous love affair between two super-wealthy, precocious and self-absorbed children which unfolds through their lifetime is just not compelling enough for it to be "all there is." Does anyone really care that much about the fates of Van and Ada like one does about Humbert (just as one doesn't really care too much about the fantasies of Kinbote unless one has the author-puzzle to mull over along side it)? The "terrors of Terra" must surely be a key to an underlying story akin to that in Pale Fire, but Ada's length is off-putting, and the word-play, though fun, is not enough to sustain one's slogging through the surface story again and again as one can easily do with Pale Fire. I'm afraid Nabakov just got too clever for his novel's good with Ada,

David Morris
----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2003 10:28 AM
Subject: Casta Diva?


Dear Mr. Gill,

Is Ada over the top is a very good question. After wrestling with it for a year, I have pretty much concluded that it is. There may be a there there, but it seems to me that if one can't find it after trying for a year, the problem may not be in the reader but in the read. Ada, in other words, seems to me to be out of all proportion (i.e., is "over the top"). My god, one could learn calculus in the time it takes to not understand Ada! If there is an answer, will it be worth the effort?

Some of Ada's images and questions will probably haunt me until someone discovers what it is that is going on in this anti-novel, but I have concluded that actively pursuing Ada is a losing game and I'm taking my marbles and going home.

Carolyn
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EDNOTE. ADA can indeed be discouraging in detail but the general outlines are now reasonably clear thanks to a generation of scholarship.
For me, the pleasures of reading. rereading, and researching far outweigh the not infrequent frustrations.