Letters to Véra by Vladimir Nabokov, review: 'beauty out of the banal' - Telegraph

thespineanditstingle:

nabokolia:

Early in 1937 Nabokov had begun an affair with Irina Guadanini, an aspiring poet. Someone clearly tipped off Véra as Nabokov’s letters become defensive and deceptive.

“I forbid you to be miserable,” he wrote. “I love you and… there’s no power in the world that could take away or spoil even an inch of this endless love. And if I miss a letter for a day it’s only because I absolutely can’t cope with the crookedness and twists of time I’m living in now. I love you.”

As some Nabokovians will know, poor Irina (sigh) was also the subject of a memorable prank on the Nabokv-L Listserv (remember that this is some time before Google was even a twinkle in anyone’s eye) waaaay back in the day:

Neither Field nor Boyd gives a specific motive for Irina Guadanini’s trip to see Nabokov in Cannes. Nabokov had requested in August that she return his letters, and it was obvious that his choice had been made—he would remain with his son and with the woman who would be his soul mate for the next forty years.

Hold on to your hats: Irina Guadanini had gone to Cannes to tell Nabokov she was pregnant with his child.

Very much worth reading, for the sheer art of its obscure construction, if nothing else.

The fearsome Scorpion Chair is a handcrafted wooden chair that is shaped like a scorpion. The chair measures in at six and a half feet and is available with leather upholstery and a variety of wood finishes. It was designed by artist Vyacheslav Pakhomov of Russian custom furniture studio Workshop Pakhomov.


Snow White Swallows the Poisoned Apple — Paula Rego

Snow White Swallows the Poisoned Apple — Paula Rego

Letters to Véra by Vladimir Nabokov, review: 'beauty out of the banal' - Telegraph

Early in 1937 Nabokov had begun an affair with Irina Guadanini, an aspiring poet. Someone clearly tipped off Véra as Nabokov’s letters become defensive and deceptive.

“I forbid you to be miserable,” he wrote. “I love you and… there’s no power in the world that could take away or spoil even an inch of this endless love. And if I miss a letter for a day it’s only because I absolutely can’t cope with the crookedness and twists of time I’m living in now. I love you.”

The Muse by Vladimir Nabokov

image

                                                         

Your coming I recall: a growing vibrance,

an agitation to the world unknown. 

The moon through branches touched the balcony

and there a shadow, lyriform, was thrown. 

                                                                 

To me, a youth, the iamb seemed a garb

too rude for the soft languor of your shoulders;

but my imperfect line had tunefulness

and with the red lips of its rhyme it smiled. 

                                                                 

And I was happy. On the dimming desk

a trembling flame hollowed my bit of candle,

and in my dream the page was under glass,

immortal, all zigzagged with my corrections.

                                                                 

Not so at present. For the morning star

my morning slumber I will not surrender.

Beyond my strength are multitudes of tasks—

especially the worries of ambition.

                                                                 

I am expert, frugal, intolerant.

My polished verse cleaner than copper shines.

We talk occasionally, you and I, 

across the fence like two old country neighbors.

                                                                 

Yes, ripeness is pictorial, agreed:

leaf of grapevine, pear, watermelon halved,

and—top of artistry—transparent light.

I’m feeling cold. Ah, this is autumn, Muse!

The violence of it. We can’t always hear the “murder” in “self-murder.”
~ John Jeremiah Sullivan, "Donald Antrim and the Art of Anxiety"
In which Van reads a short story by Anton Chekhov and the protagonist dies after three pages due to a cough…