Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001403, Sun, 3 Nov 1996 15:59:57 -0800

Homosexuals in VN (fwd)
EDITOR'S NOTE. The posting below (from our first Thailand subscriber)
touches on the homosexual theme in Nabokov's work. I would mentioned that
a forthcoming article by Olga Skonechnaia in NABOKOV STUDIES #3 (1996)
takes a close look at some of Nabokov's work as a response to homosexual
themes developed by writers and philosophers of Russia's fin de siecle
renaissance: "People of the Moonlight" in Nabokov's Russian Prose: Silver
Age Parodies."
Hello to all!

I am a brand new subscriber, a pianist and teacher (Payap University),
living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where there are, among other tourist
attractions, butterfly farms.

iI just joined, so I don't know what topics have been thoroughly
discussed in the past, but as a friend and fellow Nabophile living in NYC,
wrote to me only this week,

"I will ask you a general question about N which is disturbing to me: Why,
do you think, does he use homosexuals as negative characters? Perhaps
homosexuality is a convenient mirror world when he needs one (and one should
take note that his most callous character - V V in LATH is, though mad, not
homosexual. (But then, he is only about 6 degrees removed from McNab
himself, not 180)"

I responded: "Yes, all those negative homosexuals in Nabokov. But, you
know, I never felt he descended to sterotypes or mockery. Even the two
ballet dancers in the boarding house (MARY) were somehow sympathetic. And
much of Kinbote's gay side is so funny. There is a description of
lesbians somewhere that I will have to find again (maybe in ADA) that
perfectly describes one of my friends. Something about nervous voice,
glassy eyes. In the BB bio, he mentions often that VN doesn't like
homosexuals, but I don't think he offers much evidence. On the contrary,
there are quite a few instances of kindnesses, both to his brother and to

Would be interested in what all of you out there think about this.