Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000284, Fri, 8 Jul 1994 07:39:34 -0700

VN, Wilson, Fitzgerald, etc.
THe following message from Gene Barabtarlois in reply to Charles Nicols'
AS an aside, I mention that the forthcoming issue of NABOKOV
STUDIES contains an article by Susan Sweeney, "Sinistral Details: Nabokov,
Wilson, and -Hamlet- in -Bend Sinister-, that sheds more light on the
troubled VN-EW relationship. The Editor

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 07 Jul 94 17:42:08 CDT
From: Gene Barabtarlo <GRAGB@MIZZOU1>
Subject: Re: Jeffrey Meyers, Nabokov, Edmund Wilson (fwd)

My piece on VN and EW appeared in full in my Aerial View, published late
last year, and it's rather astonishing that Meyers has managed to insert
the reference in his article. No, I don't think my work was in vain, for
its purpose was not at all to come up with a new reason for their
monumental break-up. Rather, it was to make known certain previously
unknown documents, particularly VN's letters and EW's drafts of an essay
on VN (never written), which shed new and curious backlight on what we had
been aware of at least since Karlinsky's edition of the correspondence.
It proves, if anything, that Wilson held some rather disfavorable views of
Nabokov as a person and writer as early as in 1942 -- something that his
letters of the period do not reveal. I chose to suppress a few things I
found, or wished to say, for the sake of some persons concerned and alive.
But the general picture, I think, is more or less clear. Envy was part of
it, perhaps; but there was also a general and sharp difference in the
their philosophical, and particularly moral, attitudes which inform tastes
and stances and politics and styles, a difference that both men sensed
but chose to muffle for a long time -- in Nabokov's case, because he did
like much in Wilson and because he felt continuously obliged to him; on
Wilson's part, because he too found things to admire in his unlikely
protege, etc. Indeed it is amazing, and somewhat of a paradox, that the
two were as close as they had been during the first decade of their
intercourse. GB