NABOKV-L post 0023929, Mon, 15 Apr 2013 19:21:50 -0700

Re: Thinking of Pnin
Funny, I don't recall the smallness of Pnin's feet - but his beetle-browed large
domed head - that I do recall. You know, about Bailey I asked the question
because I don't know the answer. However unless evidence to the contrary turns
up, I simply have to assume that he simply doesn't find him worthy of comment.
It's hard not to imagine someone who, knowing the Russian language, couldn't
worship at the feet (and I do think they were probably small, and he certainly
had a way of describing small women's feet) of Pushkin. But Nabokov is still an
acquired taste. I personally do not take Iris Murdoch seriously as a novelist -
I simply don't find her interesting.


p.s. KUSC is playing Liadov and other Russian music and the host, the
irrepressible Jim Svejda of Czech extraction, mentioned the senselessness of
Pushkin's death. Personally I take it as a form of suicide. Pushkin was very
unhappy with his life at court and with what precipitated the duel in the first
place, his wife's careless and flirtatious behavior, making him, at least so he
believed and with good reason, the laughing stock of society. He'd written his
masterpieces. What did he have to look forward to? I personally think that many
early deaths were forms of suicide - from Mozart to Schubert and almost
certainly Purcell. Death by duel, death by poisoning - possibly self induced in
the case of Mozart (hitzigis Hirnfeber? give me a break) and in the case of
Schubert possibly untreated syphilis. It was easier in those days. Purcell's
death has never been explained in any rational way.

*I only mention it because he can't for the life of him pronounce Tschaikovsky
correctly - he says chai-cowf-sky. I have tried to tell him -- there is no cow
in Tschai-cough-sky. To no avail.

From: Jansy <jansy@AETERN.US>
Sent: Mon, April 15, 2013 6:32:04 PM
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] Thinking of Pnin

C. Kunin: Thinking of Pnin, does anyone recall the word/expression Nabokov
invented to indicate the precarious state of Pnin's existence?

JM: One of the things that puzzles me is VN's emphasis about the smallness of
Pnin's feet.

CK Bailey is too intelligent to be swayed by that toad [Sartre]. By the way, I
once got very angry with VN for his dismissal of such wonderful writers as
Pasternak and Albert Schweitzer, the latter of whom was related to Sartre.

JM: Do you think that VN's critical appraisals and curt dismissals of writers
would be another point to consider in relation to Bailey's silence?
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