Posts Tagged ‘vladimir nabokov’

ALL THE TEXTS I’D SEND YOU IF YOU WANTED TO GO TO A SERGIO DE LA PAVA TALK WITH ME ON DEAD RUSSIANS

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

…but then got ran over by a bus and died. No im totally kidding! but you really did get the flu and couldn’t join me.

The talk was at Housing Works, and it included two other speakers: David Gordon and Michael Kunichika.Your expectations were unclear: talk about Russian writers who, though they left us long ago, remain potent presences for readers and writers today. From Dostoevsky and Tolstoy to Vasily Grossman and Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, we’ll learn about obsession, madness, realism, fables, and more, in an event with all the drama and pathos (well, at least some of the drama and pathos) of the great Russian novels themselves.

sergiodelapavaresize

Here are all the texts I would have sent you, in chronological order and without clarifying who said what, because color-coordinating via SMS goes a step too far:

truth-seeking urgency intrinsic in russian lit

antithesis to beckett & writers who focused extensively on beauty of language

falling in love w/ english language, less plot driven urgency

dostoevsky similar to conrad in terms of truth-seeking urgency

multivocality of dostoevsky

there is no right, just different truths

dostoevsky threw the best literary parties (metaphorically speaking, as a creator)

proust s parties were too long, and maybe the guests were wearing better clothes

abstract psychological curiosity in motives, including abnormalities–>russian approach

going in depth for big questions, characters not being introverted

serialization of lengthy works, such as ‘war & peace,’ adds towards creating a broader debate. they become part of the broader debates occurring during their time

some compare the creation of microcosms of russian lit to ‘the wire’

comparing to british office, where they look at the camera at moments of despair but the viewer cannot do anything to help // to embarrasing dostoevsky characters

nabokov disliked dostoevsky for his “bad writing”

dostoevsky had a v diff approach to writing from nabokov: almost got executed literally, then was told he had another five years

that is also why dostoevsky did not pursue inanimate writing, unlike tolstoy (?)

nabokov didn t like music!

neither did dostoevsky !! (probably diff reasons)

saul bellow s ‘dean of december’–>similar urgency in truth-seeking (someone from the audience)

can reading a book be so vivid it appears like a different life?

if yes, it depends on willingness of writers to go to great lengths in creating characters who go too far, embarrass themselves/ are visceral

perhaps a key element that helps bring about the urgent truth-seeking: religion s role for the writers

religion, like their fiction, was trying to explain what goes on beyond the physical

nabokov s direct ancestor was dostoevsky s jailor. weird how he was not willing to cut him any slack, considering

dostoevsky was crowd-pleasing oriented bc he lived off writing

MONEY!!!

 

 

2006 Updike interview re: Nabokov (and other things)

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Lila Azam Zanganeh: I read that you weren’t a great fan of Ada.

John Updike: I thought the book was [coughs]—sorry I think I may be losing my voice.

Lila Azam Zanganeh: No problem.

at Guernica

NABOKOV SMIRKING IN INTERVIEW (SORRY, KINGSLEY, I LOVE HIS TRICKS)

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ldpj_5JNFoA

Every now & then I watch this interview purely for entertainment value.  Nabokov.  My dad gave me one of his books when I was twelve or thirteen, I think, and shortly thereafter I had a dawning-of-comprehension moment, like, this guy [my dad] might actually be pretty smart/have good taste. Which, while not quite a Nabokovian epiphanic moment, actually is a revelation to an adolescent.

I’ve long had the impression that a lot of folks in the HTMLGiant/indie lit crowd don’t care for Nabokov* or at least orient more toward Bukowski/Burroughs/Kafka & what I think of as the “Grits” (i.e. writers whose lifestyles are associated with gritty shit and/or whose writing prioritizes visceral response over sublimity), but I pretty much consider it axiomatic that VN was a genius and maybe the most skilled manipulator of the English language who ever lived.  Also, nobody has ever been more successful at translating synesthesia into art.  (Btw, do you know what “Martian colors” are?  I call that as a title for a book.)
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Classic Word Spaces (5): Vladimir Nabokov

Monday, November 16th, 2009

googlenabokovOn the last morning of my summer stay in St. Petersburg, I briefly left my wife and her family to walk to 47 Bol’shaya Morskaya, the childhood home of Vladimir Nabokov. The building, originally the mansion of the Nabokov family, houses on its first floor a museum, which I entered and was allowed to tour on my own for 100 roubles

To celebrate the publication of The Original of Laura, I’d like to post an illustrated account of my visit to the Nabokov Museum. I stupidly did not pay the extra 100 roubles to take photographs, so what follows are pictures I have lifted from around the web, sorry. I’ve also tried to explain, as best I can, what I learned of Nabokov’s life in this house – I consulted the museum website and Wikipedia when my memory failed me. I hope you enjoy, and please, if you have corrections/additions/Nabokov stories, share in the comments.

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Nabokov Book Covers

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Pale.doyle.mOver at Design Observer, John Gall has shared this cool project of redesigned Nabokov book covers, which he created by taking photographs of specimen boxes. The boxes were assembled by a variety of designers, whom he names in the post. Have a click over.

(via @parisreview)

The Original of Laura

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

 

fd8-Index-Cards-med

Knopf is publishing the book in an intriguing form: Nabokov’s handwritten index cards are reproduced with a transcription below of each card’s contents, generally less than a paragraph. The scanned index cards (perforated so they can be removed from the book) are what make this book an amazing document; they reveal Nabokov’s neat handwriting (a mix of cursive and print) and his own edits to the text: some lines are blacked out with scribbles, others simply crossed out. Words are inserted, typesetting notes (“no quotes”) and copyedit symbols pepper the writing, and the reverse of many cards bears a wobbly X. Depending on the reader’s eye, the final card in the book is either haunting or the great writer’s final sly wink: it’s a list of synonyms for “efface”—expunge, erase, delete, rub out, wipe out and, finally, obliterate. (Nov.)

Via Conversational Reading

Mean Monday: Fuck Everybody, I Hated This Book

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Hi. I am in a really bad mood although I was in a worse one a few hours ago but I just paid a woman to make me lift weights for an hour and feel maybe a bit better? Hm. Nah. I came home from working out and spent 30 minutes or so cleaning up cat urine. My house still stinks to high hell. I hate my old cats. I am going to have them put to sleep. I hate them. They pee everywhere. Also, when I was working out? I smelled cat pee. I took my clothes out of a laundry basket full of clean clothes and so what that means is one of them got in the laundry basket and peed on my clean fucking clothes. Hi, lady who worked me out! I smell like cat piss! Be my friend! I was hungover when I got to the gym- hi, scotch and a pack of cigarettes, I hate myself more than I hate everybody else- but now I am not so hungover. One of my cats slept on my head though last night, so I am asthmatic today because of that. Fuck everything. It’s raining like crazy. (more…)