Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001174, Wed, 3 Jul 1996 13:14:24 -0700

Re: Nabokoviana: Galatea 2.2 (fwd)
From: Marianne Cotugno <mxc52@psu.edu>

------------------ In the Spring, our Postmodernism seminar read Richard
Powers' Operation Wandering Soul. For the most part, everyone seemed to
enjoy the novel, but many of us (including myself) were a bit disappointed
by the ending. Without giving anything away to potential Powers' readers,
any comments? (It seemed like an unsuccessful Nabokovian twist to me).

I agree with Don that Powers has a powerful command and sense of the
language. There are many underlined, starred, and otherwise noted passages
in the OWS. Here is one of the:

"Does it have to have a happy ending?" Linda asked. "I want a happy
ending. Make someone donate their organs, at least."
Someone donates their organs, all of them. You.

There's also a nice Eliot reference that started turning my gears, though I
never followed through:

"Speaking of which." Kraft, holding his hands clean, crooks an
inviting elbow at the theater where the little girl is already put down,
gassed on the table, like the evening spread out against the sky.

As to Galatea 2.2., I almost wrote a seminar paper on it since the whole
computer/human stuff fascinates me, and I have that pesky MA exam next Spring!
However, I never connected Powers to Nabokov in any way. Thanks Don!

I've also heard that The Gold Bug Variations (1991) is an excellent novel as
well. Apparently, not too much has been written on Powers though his
reputation steadily grows, so the Nabokov-Powers connection gives me
something to think about...

M. Cotugno
Pennsylvania State University

The green palmettoes in crepuscular ice
Clipped frigidly blue-black meridians,
Morose chiaroscuro, gauntly drawn

from "The Comedian as the Letter C," Wallace Stevens