NABOKV-L post 0003491, Mon, 16 Nov 1998 16:41:15 -0800

Braffort on NABOKV-L
> EDITOR'S NOTE. Paul Braffort, mathematician, computer
> scientist, philosopher, musician/composer is a leading figure of the
> OULIPO, a French circle devoted to the exploration of "potential"
> literature. The group has included Raymond Queneau, Italo Calvino, and
> Georges Perec (famous, inter alia, for his long novel _La Disparition_
> (Eng. _VOID_) written without resort to the letter "E." Below M. Braffort
> expresses his concern about the decline in quality of postings
> to NABOKV-L in recent months.
> Although disagreeing about some of M. Braffort's examples, I, as editor,
> share his feeling that the number of solid contributions has declined.
> Perhaps it is in the nature of E-mail discussion lists. In any case such
> an endeavour is mostly dependent upon the willingness of subscribers to
> submit good material. NABOKV-L would be most grateful for such submission
> and suggestions for improvements.
> ----------------- Message requiring your approval (43 lines) ------------------
> From: Paul Braffort <>
> Since I subscribed to the list (in March 1997), I never contributed to the
> discussions, only taking advantage of some interesting informations which
> were going on on the list. But I have now the feeling that, recently, both
> the nature of the subjects of discussions and their quality has been
> decreasing (especially during the last six months).
> In contrast with the splendid achievement of "Dark Ice", and other wonderful
> pieces of scholarship, many discussions such as the authorship problem in
> "Pale Fire" showed a surprising literary "naiïveeté". I became also very
> by all the excitement about Lynne's film (to be rated B- according to me).
> But the worst came with a recent avalanche of clearly un-nabokovian
> discussions about paedophilia, psychoanalysis, homosexuality, etc.. Even
> postmodernism was mentioned... and strange attractors (I am a scientist and
> I can certify that strange attractors have nothing to do, even
> metaphorically, with literature)!!!
> While doing research for my book "Science et Littérature", which contains a
> chapter about VN, I had a very pleasant correspondance with Dmitri. I was
> uneasy when I learned about his involvement in the movie, but more deeply
> shocked by his suing Ms Pera. Legal action against literary works has always
> been a scandal as an admirer of Flaubert and Baudelaire like VN knew
> perfectly well. No assesment of the aesthetic quality of the book could be
> an argument for suing any author and I fully share Anatoly Vorobey's
> comments on that subject.
> My interest in the list is about VN's works, his art, his philosophy, his
> commitments in human values, and I regret that so little is said on many
> important topics. What about "Look at the Harlequins" or "Transparent
> Things", for example. Don't you think we had enough, for a while, about Lolita?
> Paul Braffort, 7 rue Charles V, 75004 Paris, France.
> P.S.
> 1. I take this opportunity to inform the list about an excellent film by
> Jérôme Foulon, an adaptation of "Mademoiselle O". It was produced in 1996 by
> France 2.
> 2. To Michael Juliar : "Jardin des plantes" only means botanical garden;
> there is no Boschian connotation!
> 3. My book is available from "Diderot Editeur, Sciences et Arts, Paris".