Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002204, Mon, 30 Jun 1997 11:11:17 -0700

And the Charles Kinbote Award for Literary Explication Goes To...
EDITOR's NOTE. Just think what critic Kinbote could do with ADA.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rodney Welch <rwelch@scjob.sces.org>

The news of the Danis Rose version of Joyce's "Ulysses" certainly
sounds distressing: some 8,000 to 10,000 changes in the book's
quarter-million words; words are "corrected," punctuation is added, and
those purely Joycean compound words -- lookingglass, snotgreen --
are sawed in half. (Raising the question: is "snot green" or "snot-green"
an improvement on "snotgreen"?) The Joyce industry is in a dither, and
who can blame them?
Rose himself gives little comfort: "If you think of Ulysses as
Joyce's mansion," he says in an AP story, "and each of the rooms as each
of the episodes, I went in and opened the windows, let in the light and
air, cleaned out the cobwebs so we could view with awe and admiration the
beauty of the architecture and the exquisite craftsmanship of the
Is it just me, or does this not sound like a perfect example of
one more Kinbotian critic, claiming for himself "the last word"? Since
when does the greatest novel of the 20th Century need to have its cobwebs
cleaned out?
Somehow I get the feeling we can expect more of the same -- I'm
beginning to greet news of Ulysses improvements with the same dour
countenance I reserve for Biblical translations, commonly rendered in the
language of the "common reader."

Rodney Welch
Columbia, SC