One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nabokov: Verbal Antics in "Pale Fire"

Nabokov is all about style and wordplay.

He loved to poke fun at Freud and Freudians; and, though perhaps not as often, Dostoevsky (he accused "Dusty and Dusky" of sloppy writing and poshlost).

From the poem in Pale Fire:

Fra Karamazov, mumbling his
inept
All is allowed, into some classes
crept; . . .
*

And a fun example of Nabokov's wordplay/love-of-words (from the commentary):
What the obituarist does not know is that Lukin comes from Luke, as also do Locock and Luxon and Lukashevich. It represents one of the many instances when the amorphous-looking but live and personal hereditary patronymic grows, sometimes in fantastic shapes, around the common pebble of a Christian name.


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