Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0027162, Tue, 30 Aug 2016 19:20:17 +0000

Nabokov's Ghosts
"...Nabokov was aware of that myth ("that Shakespeare - Will - who played the Ghost in Hamlet" Shakespeare, 11). Another favorite Nabokov tragic drama, Macbeth, features ghosts prominently, as do two of the less favored ...As noted abova, Vera Nabokov proclaimed "the otherworld" the prime subject of he late husband's writing, and ghosts and speakers are scarrered through his works. Some of his fiction is narrated by ghosts (e.g. Transparent Things, The Vane Sisters ). In some, perhaps, ghosts influence the narration (Pale Fire)... There is certainly no evidence that Nabokov ever imagined a ghostly shakespeare guiding his pen or looking over his shoulder. The kinship is not spectral, but literary... It is "words" and their magnificent and magical manipulation which most link Vladimir Nabokov and William Shakespeare. Shakespeare is surely the greatest wordsmith of our English language; to many readers, myself included, Nabokov was the finest English prose-stylist of his era." (Nabokov's Shakespeare, Samuel Schuman, 2014).

For the past few months Nabokov's eerie "presence" disappeared from my personal horizon. I stopped finding random indications to him not only where they might be expected (on the cover of a book abandoned on a balcony, in foreign magazines I'd been leafing through in a news stand, in a movie with superheroes...) but also in my surroundings, almost like the murmurs and lights and rainbows and parhelia that made me remember a line or two of his writings and whose combined messages constituted my own "referential mania." A kind of magic expectation was gone.

"No creo en brujas mas que las hay las hay" (I don't believe in witches but they most certainly exist) is a sentence that's often attributed to Cervantes' El Quijote, with which I've been familiar for a long time. I don't believe in ghosts, either but... I miss my transparent Nabokov and the coincidences in life that felt so awesome to me! I'm wondering now if this kind of "influence" could be linked to the way his American writer's universe seems to be dwindling from my other shores in South America.

Could his "phantom" be exclusively English? I don't think so, since I could see through his craftmanship find in French, Portuguese, German. Perhaps it's been happening because he is now more often talked and written about than quoted directly - so that more echoes of his perspective on nature, people, sensations and emotions can keep shimmering about.

In a haunting recent Almodóvar movie ("Julieta") a crucial explanation about the Greek word "pontos" (associated to the sea and to immortality) was proffered by the young Spanish teacher and, for a few nanoseconds, I was reminded of VN's poem in Speak,Memory: "Through the window of that index/ climbs a rose/ And sometimes a gentle wind ex/ Ponto blows."
However, there's no Nabokov in Almodóvar, or so I think...

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