Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002411, Wed, 1 Oct 1997 20:04:12 -0700

VN mentions in Edmund White's THE BURNING LIBRARY (fwd)
To: NABOKV-L@UCSBVM.ucsb.edu
Subject: VN mentions in Edmund White's THE BURNING LIBRARY

EDITOR's NOTE. Earl Sampson <esampson@CU.CAMPUS.MCI.NET> continues his
notes and comments on allusions to VN in Edmund White's essay

5) From an 1981 essay, "James Schuyler": "Here's an admission: I sometimes
wonder why people bother with poetry. After all, the best novelists (Proust
and Nabokov, to name just two) offer the reader page after page of language
as precise and as ravishing as the language of any poet - and the novelists
simultaneously make their local delights serve larger structural or
thematic ambitions.... In great fiction the language is not only satisfying
in itself, but it also fulfils larger purposes of design..." (115)

6) In a later essay ("Danilo Kis<: The Obligations of Form", 1987) he again
links Proust and Nabokov: "Similarly, the helplessness of the son...is
disguised by the tone of the entire book, which alludes to both Proust and
Nabokov, those chroniclers of the sheltered bourgeois childhood. In an
echo of Nabokov's 'First Love', Kis< writes: 'I had become intoxicated by
the music of travel, sounded by the train wheels and inscribed by swallows
and migrating fowl in closely bunched trios on the telephone-wire notation
system, in ad-lib performances and improvisations in between three-quarter
pauses interrrupted - suddenly and noisily - by the great organs of
bridges.'" (224) And Kis< has also written on Nabokov, as I reported to
the list in June (in a collection of essays, HOMO POETICUS. I have not seen
that book yet).

7) Later in the same essay: "F.W. Dupee once observed that in PALE FIRE
Nabokov made a 'team' of the poet and novelist in himself." (225)

More to come

Earl Sampson
Boulder, CO