Monday, August 06, 2012

Sirin and Scott, lost and found

Scott and Sirin By a funny coincidence, two works by a pair of the 20th centuries greatest writers turned up this month. A short story by F. Scott Fitgerald, originally rejected by the New Yorker in 1936, was discovered and "un-rejected" by that august periodical.

And then, a bit of reportage by Vladimir Nabokov (which had only seen the light of day in his collected Russion works) has been translated for the first time and appears in the Times Literary Supplement.

Neither work will cause a radical reevaluation of either author. The Fitzgerald story is a charming bit of whimsy (which will remind the reader more of "Benjamin Button" or "O'Russet Witch" than of The Great Gatsby).

Nabokov's (who often used the pen name Sirin in his German exile) piece is worthy of a Hemingway (as far as boxing descriptions go), but includes the magical verbal play that only Nabokov can do: "Everything in the world plays: the blood in the veins of a lover, the sun on the water, and the musician on a violin. Everything good in life – love, nature, the arts, and family jests – is play".

Enjoy these lost and found words:
  • Breitensträter – Paolino by Vladimir Nabokov (published in the TLS, 1 August 2012). Was "published as “Breitensträter–Paolino” on December 28 and 29 in the Latvian émigré journal Slovo, then forgotten until it was unearthed and reprinted in the early 1990s, in Daugava (Riga), then in Nabokov’s Collected Works in Russian."
  • "Thank you for the Light" by F. Scott Fitzgerald (The New Yorker, 6 August 2012)

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