Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003369, Fri, 18 Sep 1998 13:47:31 -0700

Re: VN & Sentiment (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 15:43:14 -0400
From: Tim Henderson <thenders@mail.lanline.com>
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@UCSBVM.UCSB.EDU>
Subject: Re: VN & Sentiment (fwd)

Tim Henderson<thenders@mail.lanline.com> wrote:

Thanks to Anatoly and all the others who thought this through with an
amateur Nabokophile. The thing I wished to stress about VN's form of
sentimentality -- even the extreme version below -- is how free of
calculation it is contrast to, say, Dickens (whom I also admire
tremendously)...you can hardly find a touching moment in his work that
does not bring to mind some piece of urgently needed legislation. And I
did love the punch bowl; honestly, I did.

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Anatoly Vorobey <mellon@pobox.com>
> > Tim Henderson<thenders@mail.lanline.com> wrote:
> [about a definition of 'sentimental' in _Eugene Onegin_'s commentary]
> > Does this strike anyone else as a definition that fits the word
> > "melodramatic" better than "sentimental" in the sense of the
> Salinger
> > quote discussed earlier -- roughly, an unnatural degree of
> 'tenderness'
> -------------
> I would say that while the definition itself is little more than a
> cute silly saying (a "sentimental" novel need not include
> "misdaventures
> of conventional virtue", much less be confined to them), generally
> Nabokov's "sentimental" is indeed close to "melodramatic", although
> the former is more general.
> Nor is Nabokov himself free from the disease of sentimentality on his
> own terms, or so it would seem to me. I have in mind, for instance,
> the
> horrible and unbearably melodramatic poem from "Dar" quote below, and
> would be interested in what others think of its virtues. The Russian
> version has somewhat more of poshlust in it, while the English
> translation is somewhat worse of a poem, generally.
> One night between sunset and river Odnazhdy my pod vecher oba
> On the old bridge we stood, you and I. Stoyali na starom mostu.
> Will you ever forget it, I quieried, Skazhi mne, sprosil ya, do
> groba
> That particular swift that went by? zapomnish - von lastochku tu?
> And you answered, so earnestly: Never! I ty otvechala: eshe by!
> And what sobs made us suddenly shiver, I kak my zaplakali oba,
> What a cry life emitted in flight! kak vskriknula zhizn' na
> letu...
> Till we die, till tomorrow, for ever, Do zavtra, naveki, do groba, -
> You and I on that old bridge on night. odnazhdy, na starom mostu...
> --
> Anatoly Vorobey,
> mellon@pobox.com http://pobox.com/~mellon/
> "Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly" - G.K.Chesterton