Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0021159, Sat, 8 Jan 2011 22:49:03 -0200

Re: [Fwd: Nabokov and Austen]

Arnie Perlstein: "Thanks to those who have responded ...to my suggestions of deep, positive, and ongoing interest by Nabokov in Jane Austen's writings...I am hot on the trail of a "scent"...I promise I will have something very interesting for Nabokovians to ponder... I assert that he recognized Austen as a deeply kindred literary spirit. I would imagine that Nabokov kept the secret of what he saw in Jane Austen very jealously...Sometimes it requires ...someone completely outside the conventional wisdom about an artist, to see a fresh perspective ...I suggest that Nabokov learned part of his craft in pulling off that achievement by reading Austen's _Emma_ very carefully indeed!"

JM: I understand that it's Arnie Perlstein who is a "passionate Janeite," but not a Nabokovite. This situation, as he informs us, helps him to find a fresh perspective into Nabokov's writings and to discover how Jane Austen could have influenced Nabokov.
I just read a foreword that was as puzzling to me as were Perlstein's commentaries. It was by Robert B.Parker. to Dashiell Hammett's "Woman in the Dark. He states, following Raymond Chandler's own assessment of Hammett's style, that Hammett's doesn't belong exclusively to Hammett - because it's an expression of the American Language itself - where we find no images stretching beyond the mountains, nor mysterious echoes...(perhaps R.B.Parker's words were lost in translation and I missed his point?).
I remember Nabokov's dismissal of Faulkner's "corncoby style" or of Hemmingways's "balls-bells-bulls" but, even then, this wouldn't situate hNabokov's writing closer to any English authors' nor his achievements under the influence of Jane Austen, should generalizations like these be valid.

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