Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001467, Wed, 20 Nov 1996 13:59:32 -0800

Re: More on poshlost' (fwd)
From: DDolinov@aol.com

Regarding the definition of Poshlost' and Cynizm. I don't want to start a
philosophical discussion about what those terms mean to me. But from
Nabokov's writings it seems that Poshlost' is a concrete object in reality,
or a specific quality of that object (the postcard described in VN s Gogol
book for instance). When we say "kakaja poshlost'" or "bozhe, kak eto
poshlost'", we refer to the object or act upon which we comment. I really do
not think that the reference is to a more general attitude behind the act, or
a reference to the state of mind of the "artist" who produced a work of
poshlost'. Before I am body slammed for the inability to subsume concrete
instances into a general abstraction by a bunch of Objectivists, I will
quickly add that there certainly must be an underlying human attitude and/or
disposition that drives people to produce Poshlost' (the word suggests the
attitude of posh lust, but that is just an aside). Nevertheless, the
attitude is not equivalent to what it produces (cruelty is not the same thing
as murder), and the motivation described in the posting to which I am
responding... it simply does not follow -- why the belief in the limits of
man's capabilities produces hideous postcards? I think it is the other way
around, instances of poshlost' may make one believe in the limits of man s

Daniel Dolinov