My favorite passage anywhere on translation is in Bend Sinister (one of
those available to RBG at Cornell!) -- does anyone have it at hand? The
intricate machine that is nothing like a tree but casts the same shadow at
the same moment, in the chapter about Shakespeare. Sometimes I get those
re-re-translated Shakespeare quotes mixed up with the real ones, like Pnin!
--Tim


On Tue, Sep 29, 2020 at 3:00 AM NABOKV-L automatic digest system <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> There are 2 messages totaling 322 lines in this issue.
>
> Topics of the day:
>
>   1. Former student's Memory of Nabokov's teaching at Cornell (2)
>
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> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Date:    Sun, 27 Sep 2020 09:49:42 -0700
> From:    HenHanna <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Former student's Memory of Nabokov's teaching at Cornell
>
>    (I'm trying to post this for the 2nd time,   -----   this time
>               with a quoted passage from   [Strong Opinions] )
>
>
>            Thank you...   This is such a treat !
>
> I didn't realize that [Bleak House]  was a whole semester, and not
> just a unit in a semester.
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jX7_pZ-AzU
> The Metamorphosis - A Study: Nabokov on Kafka (1989) Christopher Plummer
>
>
>             So it seems that Nabokov was charming and funny, in a way
> that's
> much more subdued and subtle than as portrayed by Christopher Plummer.
>
>                   I'd love to hear her (the former student's) impressions
> of
>  what aspects  of  VN's  style or demeanor   Plummer  _did_ capture.
>
> __________________
>
>  I wonder...      Are there any anecdotes about VN
>         being rude or insulting to a slow or lazy student ?
>
>  ( Racist   remarks that white American ("liberal") professors
>     made  to my face   are among my most unforgettable memories. )
>
> __________________
>
> a passage from   [Strong Opinions]  --
>
> >>>      What is your relation to the translations of your books?
>
> In the case of languages my wife and I know or can read — English,
> Russian, French, and to a certain extent German and Italian — the system is
> a strict checking of every sentence. In the case of Japanese or Turkish
> versions, I try not to imagine the disasters that probably bespatter
> every page.  <<<
>
>
>            I probably mentioned this before, but  OF particular interest
> to me
> is  VN 's  attitude toward his translators.    A passage in [Strong
> Opinions]
> suggests that he might have been arrogant toward his Japanese or Chinese
> translators.
>
>           But I tend to think that his "superior" persona   was  mostly an
> act.
> -- the [Proud Russian] intellectual  (role)  that he was playing
> because that was what the readers want to see.
>
>           Passages from Prof. Boyd's 2-volume biography indicated to me
> that VN was quite patient with his European translators,
> never abusive or insulting.
>
>             preferred pronouns:     he,   HenHanna,   HH
>
>
>
> On 9/25/20, Priscilla Meyer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > The grandmother of one of my students sent him her memories of studying
> with
> > Nabokov. She has graciously permitted me to post it (anonymously, "out of
> > shyness"). Note particularly the last paragraph.
> >
> > To My Grandson:
> >
> > I am so pleased to hear you are reading Nabokov. I took a class with him
> in
> > 1950, in the Spring of my sophomore year at Cornell. It was not a course
> on
> > his own work or other Russian literature. It was titled: The Thematic
> Lines
> > in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House.
> >
> > He was of some renown then, but was not yet the towering figure he would
> > become. He had written only two novels in English to date, The Real Life
> of
> > Sebastian Knight which we knew quite well, and a dystopian novel called
> Bend
> > Sinister which none of us had read at the time. I should expect that Ms.
> > Meyer has had the privilege of reading some of his earlier works in the
> > original Russian. I have since gone back and enjoyed many of them in
> English
> > and French, but I doubt they read perfectly as intended.
> >
> > As a professor, he was quite aloof. I can see him now in my mind’s eye
> > seeming rather eccentric, always moving about the room, pacing
> relentlessly.
> > He was rarely at ease. Not a patient man, he took joy in improving the
> > understanding his students possessed about literature, but was not always
> > kind in his approach.
> > His wife, Vera, sat in the front row for every class. It was rather
> unusual,
> > but her presence seemed to calm him. At the precise moment a smile from
> > Professor Nabokov could have warmed up the room, it was often his wife
> who
> > would adjust her shoulders a half turn and offer a warm beam to the room
> as
> > if to say her husband was doing his best.
> >
> > In class, Nabokov would rarely speak of his career. Once, however, in
> > disciplining a student who had been unable to produce the required piece
> for
> > the day and cited poor working conditions in his flat as an excuse,
> Nabakov
> > explained to the young man that he wrote Sebastian Knight in the
> bathroom of
> > his Paris apartment, using a bidet as a makeshift desk, so surely writing
> > can take place under most any condition.
> > I can say there was one student of whom Nabokov was rather fond. It was
> my
> > friend Ruth, whom I had gone to grade school with and was taking this
> class
> > as a Freshman at Cornell. Ruth was amongst the brightest in the class,
> but
> > beyond her intelligence, she seemed to understand how displaced he felt,
> so
> > far from home, she being the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants
> herself.
> > I remember being somewhat jealous of the attention my friend received,
> but
> > genius has a way of finding genius, and this was no exception. Four years
> > later, my friend Ruth Bader got married and became Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
> > Thirty-nine years after that, she was nominated to the United States
> Supreme
> > Court.
> >
> > Anyhow, I do hope you enjoy Pale Fire!
> >
> > All my love,
> > Your Adoring Grandmother
> >
> > Search archive with Google:
> > http://www.google.com/advanced_search?q=site:listserv.ucsb.edu&HL=en
> >
> > Contact the Editors:
> > mailto:[log in to unmask],[log in to unmask],
> [log in to unmask]
> >  Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
> > Nabokov Studies: https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/257
> > Chercheurs Enchantes:
> > http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73
> > Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
> > Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
> > AdaOnline: "http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/
> > The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada:
> > http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html
> > The VN Bibliography Blog: http://vnbiblio.com/
> > Dieter Zimmer Website: http://www.d-e-zimmer.de/index.htm
> > Search the archive with L-Soft:
> > https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A0=NABOKV-L
> >
> > Manage subscription options
> > :http://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=NABOKV-L
> >
>
> Search archive with Google:
> http://www.google.com/advanced_search?q=site:listserv.ucsb.edu&HL=en
>
> Contact the Editors: mailto:[log in to unmask],[log in to unmask],
> [log in to unmask]
>  Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
> Nabokov Studies: https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/257
> Chercheurs Enchantes:
> http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73
> Nabokv-L
> <http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73Nabokv-L>
> policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
> Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
> AdaOnline: "http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/
> The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada:
> http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html
> The VN Bibliography Blog: http://vnbiblio.com/
> Dieter Zimmer Website: http://www.d-e-zimmer.de/index.htm
> Search the archive with L-Soft:
> https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A0=NABOKV-L
>
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>
> ------------------------------
>
> Date:    Sun, 27 Sep 2020 20:20:48 +0000
> From:    Brian Boyd <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Former student's Memory of Nabokov's teaching at Cornell
>
> Yes, it's a lovely memoir. But inaccurate: Bleak House was only one text
> in a year-long course.
>
> Plummer has almost always struck me as an inept actor, and never more so
> than as Nabokov (not helped in this case by weak direction).
>
> If there had been well-attested anecdotes about VN being rude or insulting
> to a slow or lazy student I would have reported them. In his European
> fiction course, in which Ruth Bader studied, he was teaching in classes of
> 150 to 300 and would not have known most students individually. In smaller
> classes the reports are uniformly of his playful and cajoling ways.
>
> As for racism, Nabokov always challenged rather than exhibited it.
>
> During his lifetime VN did not have any translations into Chinese (the
> Cultural Revolution seethed through most of the years of his fame) and only
> three books translated into Japanese, one in 1972 (Mashenka), and two
> others (Kinq, Queen, Knave and Invitation to a Beheading) in 1977; by the
> time the latter two were being prepared, Nabokov was mostly ill in
> hospital. Since he had no knowledge of Japanese he had in any case no
> reason to be involved any more than in translations into Norwegian or
> Bengali.
>
> Brian Boyd
>
> ________________________________________
> From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of
> HenHanna <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Sunday, 27 September 2020 6:03 a.m.
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] Former student's Memory of Nabokov's teaching at
> Cornell
>
>            Thank you...   This is such a treat !
>
> I didn't realize that [Bleak House]  was a whole semester, and not
> just a unit in a semester.
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jX7_pZ-AzU
> The Metamorphosis - A Study: Nabokov on Kafka (1989) Christopher Plummer
>
>
>  So it seems that Nabokov was charming and funny, in a way that's
> much more subdued and subtle than as portrayed by Christopher Plummer.
>
>  I'd love to hear her (the former student's) impressions of
>  what aspects  of  VN's  style or demeanor   Plummer  _did_ capture.
> __________________
>
>  I wonder...      Are there any anecdotes about VN
>         being rude or insulting to a slow or lazy student ?
>
>  ( Racist   remarks that white American ("liberal") professors
>     made  to my face   are among my most unforgettable memories. )
>
> __________________
>
>  I probably mentioned this before, but  OF particular interest to me
> is  VN 's  attitude toward his translators.    A passage in [Strong
> Opinions]
> suggests that he might have been arrogant toward his Japanese or Chinese
> translators.
>
> But I tend to think that his "superior" persona   was  mostly an act.
> -- the [Proud Russian] intellectual  (role)  that he was playing
> because that was what the readers want to see.
>
> Passages from Prof. Boyd's 2-volume biography indicated to me
> that VN was quite patient with his European translators,
> never abusive or insulting.
>
>
>
> On 9/25/20, Priscilla Meyer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > The grandmother of one of my students sent him her memories of studying
> with
> > Nabokov. She has graciously permitted me to post it (anonymously, "out of
> > shyness"). Note particularly the last paragraph.
> >
> > To My Grandson:
> >
> > I am so pleased to hear you are reading Nabokov. I took a class with him
> in
> > 1950, in the Spring of my sophomore year at Cornell. It was not a course
> on
> > his own work or other Russian literature. It was titled: The Thematic
> Lines
> > in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House.
> >
> > He was of some renown then, but was not yet the towering figure he would
> > become. He had written only two novels in English to date, The Real Life
> of
> > Sebastian Knight which we knew quite well, and a dystopian novel called
> Bend
> > Sinister which none of us had read at the time. I should expect that Ms.
> > Meyer has had the privilege of reading some of his earlier works in the
> > original Russian. I have since gone back and enjoyed many of them in
> English
> > and French, but I doubt they read perfectly as intended.
> >
> > As a professor, he was quite aloof. I can see him now in my mind’s eye
> > seeming rather eccentric, always moving about the room, pacing
> relentlessly.
> > He was rarely at ease. Not a patient man, he took joy in improving the
> > understanding his students possessed about literature, but was not always
> > kind in his approach.
> > His wife, Vera, sat in the front row for every class. It was rather
> unusual,
> > but her presence seemed to calm him. At the precise moment a smile from
> > Professor Nabokov could have warmed up the room, it was often his wife
> who
> > would adjust her shoulders a half turn and offer a warm beam to the room
> as
> > if to say her husband was doing his best.
> >
> > In class, Nabokov would rarely speak of his career. Once, however, in
> > disciplining a student who had been unable to produce the required piece
> for
> > the day and cited poor working conditions in his flat as an excuse,
> Nabakov
> > explained to the young man that he wrote Sebastian Knight in the
> bathroom of
> > his Paris apartment, using a bidet as a makeshift desk, so surely writing
> > can take place under most any condition.
> > I can say there was one student of whom Nabokov was rather fond. It was
> my
> > friend Ruth, whom I had gone to grade school with and was taking this
> class
> > as a Freshman at Cornell. Ruth was amongst the brightest in the class,
> but
> > beyond her intelligence, she seemed to understand how displaced he felt,
> so
> > far from home, she being the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants
> herself.
> > I remember being somewhat jealous of the attention my friend received,
> but
> > genius has a way of finding genius, and this was no exception. Four years
> > later, my friend Ruth Bader got married and became Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
> > Thirty-nine years after that, she was nominated to the United States
> Supreme
> > Court.
> >
> > Anyhow, I do hope you enjoy Pale Fire!
> >
> > All my love,
> > Your Adoring Grandmother
> >
> > Search archive with Google:
> > http://www.google.com/advanced_search?q=site:listserv.ucsb.edu&HL=en
> >
> > Contact the Editors:
> > mailto:[log in to unmask],[log in to unmask],
> [log in to unmask]
> >  Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
> > Nabokov Studies: https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/257
> > Chercheurs Enchantes:
> > http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73
> > Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
> > Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
> > AdaOnline: "http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/
> > The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada:
> > http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html
> > The VN Bibliography Blog: http://vnbiblio.com/
> > Dieter Zimmer Website: http://www.d-e-zimmer.de/index.htm
> > Search the archive with L-Soft:
> > https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A0=NABOKV-L
> >
> > Manage subscription options
> > :http://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=NABOKV-L
> >
>
> Search archive with Google:
> http://www.google.com/advanced_search?q=site:listserv.ucsb.edu&HL=en
>
> Contact the Editors: mailto:[log in to unmask],[log in to unmask],
> [log in to unmask]
>  Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
> Nabokov Studies: https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/257
> Chercheurs Enchantes:
> http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73
> Nabokv-L
> <http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73Nabokv-L>
> policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
> Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
> AdaOnline: "http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/
> The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada:
> http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html
> The VN Bibliography Blog: http://vnbiblio.com/
> Dieter Zimmer Website: http://www.d-e-zimmer.de/index.htm
> Search the archive with L-Soft:
> https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A0=NABOKV-L
>
> Manage subscription options :
> http://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=NABOKV-L
>
>
>
> Search archive with Google:
> http://www.google.com/advanced_search?q=site:listserv.ucsb.edu&HL=en
>
> Contact the Editors: mailto:[log in to unmask],[log in to unmask],
> [log in to unmask]
>  Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
> Nabokov Studies: https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/257
> Chercheurs Enchantes:
> http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73
> Nabokv-L
> <http://www.vladimir-nabokov.org/association/chercheurs-enchantes/73Nabokv-L>
> policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
> Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
> AdaOnline: "http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/
> The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada:
> http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html
> The VN Bibliography Blog: http://vnbiblio.com/
> Dieter Zimmer Website: http://www.d-e-zimmer.de/index.htm
> Search the archive with L-Soft:
> https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A0=NABOKV-L
>
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> ------------------------------
>
> End of NABOKV-L Digest - 27 Sep 2020 to 28 Sep 2020 (#2020-30)
> **************************************************************
>

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