Advice for Nabokov Lovers


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Advice for Nabokov Lovers

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jul. 5, 2007, 4:38pm

I have never fully recovered from the realization that I am not, in fact, Ada Veen, but she remains for me Nabokov's ideal woman (well, except for Vera, of course, but she was not of his making). And, the field is not terribly crowded, but in the interest of discussion how many Adas are out there?

Should we form a self-help group? Wouldn't she despise the very notion?

jul. 6, 2007, 2:10am

I don't think Ada and Van are really held up as models—or even particularly nice people, do you?

jul. 6, 2007, 8:47am

Van is odious. As odious as Vronsky. Ada is lovely. As lovely as Anna.

Both are flawed, the human condition. Lucette? Didn't stand a chance. Such weakness, we see her again in Hazel Shade.

Would you have any of them to dinner? Only Ada, if I were a man.

jul. 6, 2007, 10:12am

I'd invite Pnin.:)

jul. 6, 2007, 10:12am

Good possible thread... whom do we invite for dinner?

jul. 6, 2007, 10:42am

Timofey Pavlovich, certainly. And, for me, Demon. John Shade would be a downer, but he has a colorful new neighbor we could ask.

On the menu? Cognac and salted almonds. Sherry for Shade, if he shows.

jul. 6, 2007, 10:44am

Ada for dessert.

jul. 6, 2007, 1:35pm

I rather liked Vadim Vadimovich of Look at the Harlequins! and would have to invite him and surprise him with his daughter Belle. What a lovely reunion that would be!
Timofey Pnin goes without saying and wouldn't it be just perfect if we could resurrect Mira, his true love.

Maybe even Sirin would grace us with a visit. :)

jul. 6, 2007, 2:00pm

Sirin! The sylph. Quite a coup if you get him to attend.

Did anyone think to invite Sebastian?

nov. 21, 2007, 8:36am

Are all the women afraid of having Lolita?

nov. 21, 2007, 9:29am

Not in the least. Her shelf life has expired, long ago.

nov. 21, 2007, 9:50am

Oh sure, we can invite Lo, why not? :D But what about Margot Peters? Certainly if Lo can be there it might be interesting to see her along side one of her predecessors, yes?

I think that just might guarantee Sirin's presence.

nov. 21, 2007, 10:05am

Actually, I was thinking of seating her between Ada and Van, and letting them devour her. A bit of sport between soup and fish.

nov. 21, 2007, 1:49pm

To keep her out of trouble we might just set her on the couch.

nov. 21, 2007, 2:18pm

OK, Karlus (Kinbot?) we'll assign you to Lolita duty, if you so desire. You can regale her with tales of Zembla.

nov. 22, 2007, 6:24pm

Now I absolutely must read Ada next!

nov. 22, 2007, 11:47pm

Tim at #5: Good possible thread... whom do we invite for dinner?

This was probably before your time, but, back in the '70s, Steve Allen did a PBS show called Meeting of Minds - which was a talk show where three or four historical figures would sit around over dinner and toss ideas around.

Allen's execution of the conceit was occasionally painful to watch, but agreed, it's certainly an interesting idea for a thread.

Nabokov? Edmund Wilson? Thomas Jefferson?

Editat: nov. 23, 2007, 8:10pm

I loved that series AsYouKnow_Bob...remember it well, in fact thanks for the name...couldn't remember it. :D

Can't invite Vladimir without Véra though.

nov. 23, 2007, 9:58pm

Party's over if Vera shows up.

nov. 24, 2007, 5:16pm

Oh no! :D Not at all, on the contrary, he wouldn't be happy without her there.

nov. 24, 2007, 6:42pm

Yes, but us - we'd be happier, or less well behaved if she weren't. We can invite her to tea another day.

feb. 10, 2008, 12:30am

enevada, why is Van odious and Ada lovely? They are very similar, no? I think Van will be one of my favorite characters of all time. He would definitely be invited to dinner.

feb. 10, 2008, 9:13am

That does seem a bit harsh to equate Van with Vronsky. Van is, at least, a creative artist, while Vronsky is merely a cad. But, I need to back up a bit to answer your question, Citygirl.

Ada simply is. Intact, complete, whole. In my reading of Ada, she is life itself. Ego-bound Van can only respond to her, in this case through his writing. His encounter with Ada is that of an actor or being responding to life. I call it the re-creative response and it results in all manner of original thought, often codified as a book, or a musical composition, or a math equation - the product doesn't matter, the response does.*

In Nabokov, sex is revelational and what it reveals is protocreativity (yes, I make up words when I need to but so does Nabokov). It is the pin-point where life force meets creative response.

*I'll have to repeat some of this in my answer to you on Lucette, in the other thread.