4/21/2017

In other news

Nabokov still dead.

“My name, if you must know, is vlaDEE‐mir, to rhyme with redeemer, naBOAR‐off. But only a Russian can say it with its true inflections.”

In another utterance he offered a new English word for vulgarity—the Russian word Poshlost (pronounced PUSH‐lost), which means, he said, “corny trash, vulgar cliches, Philistinism in all its phases, imitations of imitations, bogus profundities, crude, moronic and dishonest pseudoliterature.” Pressed for examples, he said:

“Poshlost speaks in such concepts as ‘America is no better than Russia’ or ‘We all share in Germany's guilt.’ The flowers of Poshlost bloom in such phrases and terms as ‘the moment of truth,’ ‘charisma,’ existential’ (used seriously), ‘dialogue’ (as applied to political talks between nations) and ‘vocabulary’ (as applied to a dauber).”

A few of Mr. Nabokov's other declarations were:

“Of course everybody has his bete noire, his black pet. Mine is that airline ad: The snack served by the obsequious wench to a young couple—she eyeing the cucumber canapé, he admiring wistfully the hostess. And, of course, ‘Death in Vcnice,’ [a novella by Thomas Mann].”

“Many accepted authors simply do not exist for me. Brecht, Faulkner, Camus, many others, mean absolutely nothing to me. 1 must fight a suspicion of conspiracy against my brain when I blandly see accepted as ‘great literature’ by critics and fellow authors Lady Chatterley's copulations or the‐pretentious nonsense of Mr. [Ezra] Pound, that total fake.”

“How can I talk about the novel when I don't know what a novel is? There are no novels, no writers, only individual books.”

“I reject completely the vulgar, shabby, fundamentally medieval world of Freud, with its crankish quest for sexual symbols (something like searching for Baconian acrostics in Shakespeare's works) and its bitter little embryos spying from their natural nooks upon the love life of their gents.”

“I don't fish, cook, dance, endorse books, sign declarations, eat oysters, get drunk, go to analysts, or take part in any demonstrations. I'm a mild old gentleman, very kind.

Oh well

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