NABOKV-L post 0000442, Fri, 27 Jan 1995 10:29:20 -0800

Subject
A Few Questions (fwd)
Date
Body
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Pascoe Dustin C <dcp623t@nic.smsu.edu>

Nabokovians,

I am new to the field of Nabokov study, and have not yet read all of his
novels, although I have tried to familiarize myself with the major
currents in both his writing and the criticism of those who write about
his writing. (Let me insert quickly as an aside that I find it all
wonderful and delightful.) And so, like all beginners, I have some
questions.

I know from reading Boyd that N. hated Robert Lowell's translations of
Mandelstam's poetry, but do we know what he thought of Lowell's original
works? Did N. hold Mandelstam in particularly high regard?

Along these same lines, what was N.'s opinion of the Beat Poets,
specifically Ginsberg? I imagine he was dismissive of the entire
"confessional" school, but where might I look to learn more?

Lastly, why did N. have so many cruel female characters? Martha, Margot,
Marthe, Nina, Liza, Armande (the worst!), and even Ada were all horrible
selfish people. The "good" women in N. are often ones we barely, if
ever, meet; like Mary or Sybil Shade. Nabokov himself had quite good
fortune -- a mother who nurtured and cared about him, an almost perfectly
matched wife -- it seems odd (to me) that the female characters should so
often be the source of so much pain. Is this more of N.'s play with
inverted reality?

Thank you in advance for suggestions for further study or any other
information which may help me in my study.

Dustin C. Pascoe
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Pummill 210
Southwest Missouri State Univ.
Springfield, MO 65804