From: Jansy Berndt de Souza Mello
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2010 11:03 PM
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] VN SIGHTING: Berlin tennis courts

Christoph Heuke: One from the trivia department: Berlin newspaper "Der Tagesspiegel" runs a piece about the tennis courts on Cicerostrasse, which are in decay and threatened by real estate speculation. The author, German novelist Peter Schneider, claims that Nabokov has given tennis lessons on exactly these grounds and also mentions the well-known photograph showing him with the Siewert sisters. The text is in German, of course:
JM: My claudicating German is insufficient to give me confidence to risk a comment or an interpretation.
I selected a paragraph, though, the one that comes right before Peter Schneider mentions Nabokov's tennis classes, at the Cicerostrasse courts: "Vor allem die Psychoanalytiker, die immer im Voraus buchten, erschienen in so großer Zahl, dass Spontan-Gäste wie ich das Gefühl hatten, die besseren Plätze seien bis Jahresende für Seelendoktoren reserviert. Die Branche gehörte schon damals zu einem der wenigen blühenden Geschäftszweige in Berlin."  It mentions the "Vienna/Berlin delegation," the whacking Freudian school of fish, who represents one of the most successful crowds of pratictioners, tennis-players and match-watchers. It describes how these sportsmen efficiently book in advance to obtain access to the better places available in the public domain, therefore pushing away late-comers or spontaneous adherents. Perhaps this fact motivated Nabokov to exclaim: "Freudians, keep out!"?
Arguments about who were the important figures in the past that frequented these grounds, protected by the shade of high waving popplars (are there more Roman names in the nearby alleys, like the  Shakespearean unreal-estate ones, in "Pale Fire"?), are not strong enough to save this space from real-estate speculators, philistines who carry not a cell of artistic or historic fetichism in their veins...
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