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Vladimir Nabokov - Speak, Memory (Discussion)

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dogmatix,

 

Go back and re-read everything. I am just starting chapter two and you are ahead of me already. :oops: :wink::D

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dogmatix,

 

Go back and re-read everything. I am just starting chapter two and you are ahead of me already. :oops: :wink::D

 

Yes captain! I'll be spending a little time on Wikipedia filling in some history gaps today.

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Dogmatix....

Here is another link to do with Nabokov's father. I think from the links in it you will be able to find what you need for research.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Dmitrievich_Nabokov

 

I don't think it is the same link I posted earlier, but can't scroll back far enough without losing this.

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I'll check out your link, I'm on Wikki right now. I did manage to get a nice timeline jammed into my brain and an idea about who the Bolsheviks were and the relationship betwen Stalin/Lenin and the fall of the Tsars. Great stuff! I may need to reread Nicholas ad Alexandria again one of these days, and then there's The Communist Manifesto, and some nice biographies........ Whew, what a can of worms you've opened Pontalba.

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Dogmatix..

Follow the "Kadet" link in the article. Interesting stuff.

 

Also to get a feel for the time Nabokov spent in Berlin, I found an absolutely marvelous non-fiction book by Otto Friedrich...Before the Deluge. Nabokov is even spoken of in it, several times.

 

Berlin in the 1920's was a heck of a place to be.....makes nowadays look pretty tame. And VN wrote so many of his stories there, taking the times into account so well, and throughly, even though he did not actually speak German too well, he hated it.

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Also one thing I'd like to bring out about Nabokov's writing in parallel with the times he lived. I am reminded of Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky.....she wrote right at the time the events were taking place with such insight. I haven't read the book yet, only skimmed and read the reviews...but from what I can tell.....marvelous.

 

It is amazing to me that these authors could write about the times they were living in so clearly. Capture just the right note. So often, it is impossible to see the forest for the trees, but they picked out the individual branches.

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dogmatix,

 

Go back and re-read everything. I am just starting chapter two and you are ahead of me already. :oops: :wink::D

 

LOL Muggle, I've only been skim rereading so far, I have to sit down and really reread! So don't feel too far behind. :groupdance:

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This reminds me, did any of you read the book "Ten Days That Shook The World". I forgot the author but remember that it was a great book that I enjoyed and I think I still have the book.

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This reminds me, did any of you read the book "Ten Days That Shook The World". I forgot the author but remember that it was a great book that I enjoyed and I think I still have the book.

 

I'm not familiar with it. Is this the one you mean?

Link

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It is amazing to me that these authors could write about the times they were living in so clearly. Capture just the right note. So often, it is impossible to see the forest for the trees, but they picked out the individual branches.

 

It's eerie almost...

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It certainly calls for a detachment I don't think I could achieve!

 

What I love the most about Speak, Memory I think is the over whelming love VN has for his family. He can pour so much emotion in a few sentences or paragraphs........

 

So we have a certain clinical detachment on one side, and extreme love and protectiveness on the other. And when he draws the line between what he will share and what he won't it stays drawn.

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This reminds me, did any of you read the book "Ten Days That Shook The World". I forgot the author but remember that it was a great book that I enjoyed and I think I still have the book.

 

I'm not familiar with it. Is this the one you mean?

Link

Yes, that is the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the book although it has been many years since I read it. This is the Amazon.com review:

 

Amazon.com

The situation in St. Petersburg was growing more and more tense. The People's Revolution had begun by overthrowing the corrupt Tsarist regime in March 1917, but the workers and the peasants felt the revolution had much farther to go. Tired of fighting a war that meant little to them, the soldiers also grew restless: "When the land belongs to the peasants, and the factories to the workers, and the power to the Soviets, then we'll know we have something to fight for, and we'll fight for it!"

Lenin pressed the Bolsheviks to seize power. On the night of October 24, an organized mass of workers, soldiers, peasants, and sailors stormed the Winter Palace. On the following day, at the opening of the second Congress of Soviets, Trotsky announced the overthrow of the provisional government. Counterrevolutionary forces marched on the capital, but the Revolutionary Army triumphed. After all, "[t]his was their battle, for their world; the officers in command were elected by them. For the moment that incoherent multiple will was one will."

 

In Ten Days That Shook the World John Reed tells the story of Red October and the Russian revolution from a unique, firsthand perspective. Reed, an American journalist, was on assignment in Russia for The Masses--then the principal radical journal in the United States--and spent his days walking the streets, reading and collecting handbills, newspapers, and posters, and talking to people. As a result, Ten Days crackles with energetic immediacy. At its best moments it reads like a novel: Reed recounts conversations and arguments, details political machinations, and speculates on personal motives. Though this is no mere piece of propaganda, Reed's enthusiasm for the revolution infuses the text (some readers may be put off by Reed's florid prose), casting each counterrevolutionary act in a negative light. Helpful notes flesh out the background for those less familiar with the preceding events and render this a solid work of history. Ten Days That Shook the World is a stirring account of a stirring event. --Sunny Delaney

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That is the book! And John Reed is famous as its author. I haven't read the book (yet /sigh/) but he is also the subject of the absolutely marvelous documentary film and love story, Reds, which I see on Amazon is going to be re-released on DVD soon. The movie is not to be missed, for all of the luminaries it contains speaking live in first person, and also to see who John Reed really was. Amazing times, and an amazing man (and woman).

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I'd heard of the movie Reds but frankly didn't pay much attention to it as Robert Redford irritates me for some reason.

But if the movie is that good, I might have to take a look anyhow.

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Pontalba, Muggle,

I was thinking of the 25th Anniversary Edition DVD with Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton, coming in October at Amazon. If have it right and knew how to make a nicer link.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Reds-25th-Anniversary-Beatty/dp/B000GG4Y32/sr=1-1/qid=1159639775/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-9512507-2501634?ie=UTF8&s=dvd

 

PS Also picked up Ten Days that Shook the World and it has one of the most glowing recommendations for a book that I have ever seen, in the Intro by A.J.P.Taylor: "Reed's book is not only the best account of the Bolshevik Revolution, it comes near to being the best account of any revolution."

Boyd of course has similar praise for Speak, Memory among autobiographies.

Sound like two fabulous books.

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LOL ok, Redford or Beatty, same diff....both irritating, but sorry about the mix up of actors. :D

But the book does sound interesting.

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LOL ok, Redford or Beatty, same diff....both irritating, but sorry about the mix up of actors. :D

But the book does sound interesting.

Pontalba,

Waaal, it is true that you'll have a hard time avoiding Beatty (or Keaton), but it also has a cast of thousands that you can see listed on IMDB, including a live talking Henry Miller, for example, commenting on the times, and other notables whose names I had only ever heard of, plus actors such as Jack Nicholson playing still other notables. It is as much talking history as it is drama and I thought it was a feast for people watching.

And now I'll leave you in peace to make up your own mind. Back to regular programming. :D

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I'm enjoying the maturation and diversions this thread is taking. I'm getting so much more out of this book then I ever would on my own. Plan on finishing my re-read of chapter 3 today and hitting chapter 4 (and possibly 5). I'll be picking up a copy of The Ten Days... too.

 

How are you getting along Muggle?

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dogmatix

I am so glad you are enjoying yourself with this book! Yes, an immediate reread of Chap. 3 is wise. The ancestors, a chapter that has tripped up some, but is necessary, and to me fascinating. :D

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Pontalba,

Waaal, it is true that you'll have a hard time avoiding Beatty (or Keaton), but it also has a cast of thousands that you can see listed on IMDB, including a live talking Henry Miller, for example, commenting on the times, and other notables whose names I had only ever heard of, plus actors such as Jack Nicholson playing still other notables. It is as much talking history as it is drama and I thought it was a feast for people watching.

And now I'll leave you in peace to make up your own mind. Back to regular programming. :D

:D In spite of my dislike or certain actors, it does sound verra interesting. Thanks for the heads up.

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I do recommend that y'all give "Ten days That Shook The World" a try. Like I mentioned, it was a long time ago that I read the book but do still remember that it was very good.

 

Dogmatix, I see that Nabokov mentioned you on page 39 in speak, Memory.

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I do recommend that y'all give "Ten days That Shook The World" a try. Like I mentioned, it was a long time ago that I read the book but do still remember that it was very good.

 

Dogmatix, I see that Nabokov mentioned you on page 39 in speak, Memory.

 

Ordered it today Muggle. I'll have to go check out page 39 now

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So basically I've settled into rereading each chapter as I go. Just finished up with chapter 4 X 2.

 

Nabokov's relatives; how interesting to have so many important relatives at such a crucial time in world history. I learned all about Puskin today. I also bought a new dictionary:mrgreen:

 

Nabokov takes pains to explain the exact origin of his ideas, a color, a sound, a piece of furniture, a dog and I loved his explaination of the loss of or dilution of those memories as he assignes them to the characters in his books. So wonderful.

 

This has been touched on before but it just goes to show that you don't need to have a terribly painful and dysfuntional childhood to be inspired to write about it.

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So basically I've settled into rereading each chapter as I go. Just finished up with chapter 4 X 2.

 

Nabokov's relatives; how interesting to have so many important relatives at such a crucial time in world history. I learned all about Puskin today. I also bought a new dictionary:mrgreen:

 

Nabokov takes pains to explain the exact origin of his ideas, a color, a sound, a piece of furniture, a dog and I loved his explaination of the loss of or dilution of those memories as he assignes them to the characters in his books. So wonderful.

 

This has been touched on before but it just goes to show that you don't need to have a terribly painful and dysfuntional childhood to be inspired to write about it.

There is so much of himself that Nabokov injects into his work. For example the scene on p.24 where he describes a certain train trip...

One night, during a trip abroad, in the fall of 1903, I recall kneeling on my (flattish) pillow at the window of a sleeping car (probably on the long-extinct Mediterranean Train de Luxe, the one whose six cars had the lower part of their body painted in mber and the panels in cream) and seeing with an inexplicable pang, a handful of fabulous lights that beckoned to me from a distant hillside, and then slipped into a pocket of black velvet: diamonds that I later gave away to my characters to alleviate the burden of my wealth. I had probably managed to undo and push up the tight tooled blind at the head of my berth, and my heels were cold, but I still kept kneeling and peering. Nothing is sweeter or stranger than to ponder those first thrills.

He gave this to Martin in Glory. The diamond like lights in the distance beckoned to Martin as well. But the detail...a flattish pillow, so we can receive exactly the right look of the scene. The chill of his heels from the open window....

 

And VN's memory! Oy!

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