Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002322, Wed, 3 Sep 1997 09:26:51 -0700

Re: Lunatic esthetics (the importance of re-writing) (fwd)
From: Juan Martinez <pigbodine@hotmail.com>

I wish I could agree---most likely it was a carelessly chosen chunk of
words. The reviewer must have had something else in mind when he wrote
"lunatic esthetics" but, other than it paralleled Exley's memoirs, God
knows what that was (maybe VN's stylistic hi-jinks... in which case
"lunatic" was meant in a good way or (Case B) as colorful substitute for
"elaborate", or (Case C), VN's authorial control over his funhouse
fiction [which *could* be construed as lunatic], or (Case D) VN writing
himself in as a character in his own fiction, or (Case E + F + ....)

The reference to Nabokov, however, is too vague and too strange to
actually add up to anything useful or constructive---anybody who writes
weekly or at any rate regularly for money knows that, sooner or later,
the pen not only will slip but also skid a long way, which seems to be
the case here... The reviewer had probably much more innocent purposes
in mind and meant no one harm. The real danger is in over-interpreting
a newspaper column (see paragraph above).

>Perhaps "lunatic esthetics" is just a misprint; if you read "lunatic
>esthetes" it makes more sense, as a reference to Humbert Humbert and
>Charles Kinbote. And an esthete is in a much better situation to go
>in for self-display than esthetics is.


Juan Martinez

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