NABOKV-L post 0002200, Mon, 23 Jun 1997 16:43:34 -0700

Nabokov mention (fwd)
Subject: Nabokov mention

From: Earl Sampson <>

A review, by Richard Eder of the Los Angeles Times, of Cynthia Ozick's
novel THE PUTTERMESSER PAPERS, begins with this paragraph: "Take Pnin,
Vladimir Nabokov's sweetly oblivious professor, and make him itchily aware
of absolutely everything. Take Zuckerman, Philip Roth's itchily aware
alter ego, and make him sweet. Fuse them into an aging female Jewish
intellectual and you get Ruth Puttermesser, Cynthia Ozick's hapless
emissary to the killing grounds, where life avenges itself upon the mind
and reality upon the imagination." (The review appeared in the June 22
issue of the local daily, a Knight-Ridder paper.)

By curious coincidence, I read this review, with its juxtaposition of the
Gentile Pnin and the Jewish protagonist Zuckermann, on the same day (today)
that I received my copy of THE NABOKOVIAN No. 38, with Maksim Shrayer's
essay "Death, Immortality, and Nabokov's Jewish Theme," which analyzes the
treatment in PNIN (and THE GIFT) of the question of "postmortem survival,"
a theme that also, apparently, plays a role in Ozick's novel - the story,
in the reviewer's words, of "an intellectual unarmed and unworldly."

Earl Sampson
Boulder, CO