Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001184, Mon, 22 Jul 1996 10:18:19 -0700

Tales from Amateur Humbertland (fwd)
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My reading of all VVN novels continues apace; the height of summer found
me sweating across Humbertland, and now I am resting in the cool glades
of Pnin. VVN's dark novels still set my teeth on edge. I nearly went mad
reading Luzhin, and Lolita made me contort in pretzel fashion. The Gift
and Sebastian Knight produced contrary effects. Chapter One of Pnin
evoked tremendous enjoyment and admiration. In addition to the novels, I
read Brian Boyd's biography of VVN a step or two behind, so as to
encounter the episode of each work after having read it. Nabokov's own
account of his near-disastrous food-poisoning, told in a letter to Bunny
"Schadenfreude" Wilson, had me in Pninian fits of laughter.

A couple of weeks ago my local bookseller finally delivered me a
biography of VVN in French, from the Ecrivains de Toujours series. The
most expensive paperback I've ever bought. It has lots of color plates
but a meandering and obscure approach to its task. The writer would like
to but does not dare introduce Freud, and so brings him, in disguise,
through the servants' entrance.

Alexander Justice * jahvah@empirenet.com * Paradiso Perdido, California,

"A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and
treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life."