Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004868, Tue, 7 Mar 2000 09:19:02 -0800

Far-flung Repute: From Plato to Picasso (fwd)
Reading predormitarily VN's EO Commentary, I was reminded of the following
passage I had read some years ago.
On page 192 of Plato in the Italian Renaissance by James Hankins (Leiden,
New York, Köln: 1994, 3rd impression):

"Vladimir Nabokov says somewhere that a good translator must surrender his
identity to his author to the point where he cares as deeply for the
author's reputation as the author does himself. George [of Trebizond
(1396-c. 1472)], by contrast, was so filled with contempt for Plato, and so
convinced of his malign influence, that he wanted him to appear as foolish,
corrupt and dangerous as he could."

Having spent many hours in the library, I would, while still a university
student, pick up indexed books and see whether there was any reference to
VN. I found many references most of which have been duly detected by list
members over the past years. What struck me was when there was no reference
at all to VN, there was nearly always a mention of Napoleon, Napier. As soon
as my eye spotted these names on top of the N list I immediately shut the
book and picked the next one.
In a booklet accompanying Paloma Picasso's make-up assortiment (lipstick if
memory serves) VN is quoted: "All colors made me happy, even gray," which is
from Pale Fire (thanks, Hassny!).