Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0022277, Fri, 30 Dec 2011 22:53:19 -0200

Re: [SIGHTING] Martin Amis on Stalkers II
According to James Twiggs "part of Amis' TLS review--the pedophile reference--can best be understood in light of his review of The Original of Laura in the Guardian:http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/nov/14/vladimir-nabokov-books-martin-amis. As for Boyd vs. Field, see Maar's interesting comparison of the two in the footnote to page 1 of Speak, Nabokov." Actually, Michael Maar has also written about nymphets and TOoL - as on S,N p.127-8: "There was certainly nothing like this in Lolita. Much that was only faintly hinted at becomes drastic and explicit in The Original of Laura....There's only one thing that never fails to cause aversion, mature womanhood. In his commentary to Eugene Onegin, Nabokov describes a picture in which Tatiana in an open nightdress bares her full breast. Slightly repulsed, he calls if a "fat breast." In the corresponding foot-note, Maar adds: See Eugene Onegin, vol. II, 178. It's not for no reason that Field asks whether Nabokov actually liked women and answers: "In his fiction, at least, by and large not." However, his link between this particular instance of VN's depreciation of a woman's "fat breast" and Andrew Field's explorings isn't convincing. No, not at all.*

In the initial chapter of "Speak, Nabokov," The Medusa Experience, Maar wrote:
"In any case, the true Nabokov is to be found in his work, in which his inner self radiates in all directions. That Nabokov, who reveals himself - realizes himself, in the strict sense of the word - in his art, is a different Nabokov from the shaman who holds his contemporary world and posterity under his spell. And it is this inner Nabokov who is crucial for us here."
How very presumptuous on the part of Michael Maar ("the true Nabokov is... his inner self appears..."). Extending further Field's inquiry on whether Nabokov liked women, Maar observes that Field's answer was "only half true" And yet, Maar manages to turn out a selection of cruel bitches from VN's novels and he chooses Bend Sinister's Mariette as "the most monstrous member of the group," one that "certainly provides strong evidence for Field's thesis."
If Maar has chosen to lay bare what he considers to be the true "inner Nabokov," why does he need to enrol Andrew Field to prove his point?
The answer to this query may lie in the footnote Jim Twiggs has encouraged me to read. I selected a paragraph from it: "Nabokov almost comes off better in this frist biography [Field's] than in the work of his second and much more rigorous biographer, Brian Boyd. Why? Because Boyd is fair and benevolent, whereas Field is full of resentment [...] With Boyd one doesn't know for sure what he, gentleman that he is, might omit out of consideration for his subject, with Field one suspects he would use even the tiniest, most fragile thread to try to hang Nabokov...".
Well, it's obvious that Michael Maar has no intention to behave like a gentleman (if that's the best word to describe Brian Boyd's discretion), nor as any serious professional in the field of clinical psychology since his conclusions are mainly self-serving, at most (under the aegis of pursuing Artistic Truth, yeah, sure...) .

* Notbek's unsuccessful engraving of bare-breasted Tatiana has been brought up recently (22 Dec 2011) at the N-List.

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