Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001133, Thu, 30 May 1996 10:10:00 -0700

Baseball hermeneutics (fwd)
From: Steven G. Kellman <kellman@lonestar.jpl.utsa.edu>

Nabokovians might sense a pale shade of Charles Kinbote's
misinterpretation of the newspaper headline "Red Sox Beat Yanks
5-4 on Chapman's Homer" in this anecdote, from THE NEW YORK TIMES, of a
rabbi's befuddlement over baseball.
Steven G. Kellman
The University of Texas at San Antonio

May 25, 1996

Helping Modern Readers Hear Ancient Voices


...[Rabbi W. Gunther] Plaut [of Toronto] said he believed that no one
should read the Bible without access to a commentary. "Old texts,
from the Bible to Shakespeare, have to be interpreted," he said.

And some new texts as well. To make his point that to read
intelligently, a person must know context, Plaut cited his own
experience as a seminary student, fresh from Europe, in 1935. At
Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where he had gone to study, his
fellow students surprised him by showing him a newspaper headline:
"Reds Murder Cardinals."

"I thought there had been a revolution in Italy," Plaut recalled. In
fact, the story under the headline was about a baseball game,
Cincinnati's decisive triumph the previous day over a rival St.
Louis team. His fellow students, the rabbi said, "wanted to
introduce me to American ways."

Copyright 1996 The New York Times Company