Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001270, Sat, 7 Sep 1996 10:39:53 -0700

VN and Music (fwd)
There is an interesting passage about Nabokov and music in Marc Szeftel's
diaries which may be revealing. Marc Szeftel taught with VN at Cornell for
10+ years, and in his diaries, which are kept at the UW Library, he
remembered numerous conversations with the writer. I'll be the last one to
claim that Szeftel is a totally reliable narrator, but, hey, if they want
to subpoena Dick Morris on the strength of a hooker's diary published in a
tabloid which often has interviews with aliens and stories about 90
year-old women giving birth to babies who had been in their wombs for 50
years, Szeftel has to be deemed as at least somewhat reliable!

The entry, written in 1975, is in Russian.

"Some time ago a friend in Antwerp... told me that in music there exist
for him only two categories -- "quiet" and "loud." Nabokov also told me
something along the same lines. When I appeared surprised and asked him
whether such indifference to music ran in the family, he sad no. His
father sang, and his mother played the piano really well, but with him it
was different. I had to believe him (why would he want to invent this?),
even though it didn't make much sense given the musicality of Nabokov's
language, especially his poetry."

Galya Diment