Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003339, Wed, 26 Aug 1998 17:41:41 -0700

Flawless gods? (fwd)
Good for you, Galya. There is no god that is flawless, including ours.
Our genius did have an extremely accurate eye for everything that is
worn and tarnished and dead. ("Night of the Living Dead Cliche") But
there was a blind spot in his vision that allowed no room for talented
women writers, let alone the apt descriptions he assigned to beskirted
fountains of poesy. But is it a sign of his time? Could Shakespeare
have created Shylock in any other manner than he did? Could Nabokov
have created American blacks, or women writers, in any other way than he
did? In 1998 it would be farcical to deny women writers of talent a
place in the Pantheon. But then again, we only have to look at the
Modern Library's list to see that VN was not too far out of step with
the now of our now. How would he have voted if he had been on that
board of selectors? (He would have declined, of course.) But a
conjecture of how he might have voted would be interesting.

One of the things I love about this man is how he brings inanimate
objects to life and places those things, like the homunculi of Gogol,
into the text of the story. I'm rereading "Invitation to a Beheading"
right now, and I was as thrilled as the first time when Marthe and her
clan visit bringing with them the "ample wardrobe with its private
reflection." Anthropomorphism? Personification? Gogolization?
Whatever you call it, it's a delightful moiety, and I would imagine many
of you out there have your own favorite examples.


Malcolm Reynolds