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mitty
Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 10:03 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 02 Aug 2004 Posts: 1354 Location: Way Down Yonder.......
I find Timofey charming and somewhat naive, but he does have a very sensible core (believe it or not!).
But his reactions to objects is delightful. For example:
Quote:
Electric devices enchanted him. Plastics swept him off his feet. He had a deep admiration for the zipper. But the devoutly plugged-in clock would make nonsense of his mornings after a storm in the middle of the night had paralyzed the local power station. The frame of his spectacles would snap in mid-bridge. leaving him with two identical pieces, which he would vaguely attempt to unite, in the hope, pehaps, of some organic marvel of restoration coming to the rescue. The zipper a gentleman depends on most would come loose in his puzzled hand at some nightmare moment of haste and despair.

All of which explains why he was on the wrong train. Cool

But OCD? Bart, how do you come to that conclusion? I don't see it either.
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bart
Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 12:11 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 05 Dec 2005 Posts: 2381 Location: Lincoln NE
It vas choke. Next time I use emote icon, maybe better? Pnin iss not OCD, chust vants impose tsertain order on world sometimes like everyman.

Charlss, I also not leet majeur off any kind, chust faking air-you-dishun.

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pedersencr
Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 12:55 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 921 Location: New Orleans
Bart, Mitty,
Well, thinking about it -- doing hairpin turn here, with screeching tires Smile -- the scene with him trying to make sure he has the correct manuscript in the correct place for his lecture does seem somewhat obsessive and compulsive, especially when he just can't resist checking, and rechecking, and reshuffling, as I recall. Maybe my memory exaggerates, but that could well qualify. In general though, that scene is not quite characteristic of what seems to me to be a more resigned kind of determinedly bumbling nature -- otherwise we might all be absolutely frantic by novel's end. Laughing

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mitty
Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:15 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 02 Aug 2004 Posts: 1354 Location: Way Down Yonder.......
pedersencr wrote:
Bart, Mitty,
Well, thinking about it -- doing hairpin turn here, with screeching tires Smile -- the scene with him trying to make sure he has the correct manuscript in the correct place for his lecture does seem somewhat obsessive and compulsive, especially when he just can't resist checking, and rechecking, and reshuffling, as I recall. Maybe my memory exaggerates, but that could well qualify. In general though, that scene is not quite characteristic of what seems to me to be a more resigned kind of determinedly bumbling nature -- otherwise we might all be absolutely frantic by novel's end. Laughing

If that had been a continious pattern, it could have been mild OCD, but in this instance, just a case of nerves, and after all he is a methodical sort of person. JMO
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whiskeypriest
Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:33 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 6916 Location: "It's a Dry Heat."
mitty wrote:
pedersencr wrote:
Bart, Mitty,
Well, thinking about it -- doing hairpin turn here, with screeching tires Smile -- the scene with him trying to make sure he has the correct manuscript in the correct place for his lecture does seem somewhat obsessive and compulsive, especially when he just can't resist checking, and rechecking, and reshuffling, as I recall. Maybe my memory exaggerates, but that could well qualify. In general though, that scene is not quite characteristic of what seems to me to be a more resigned kind of determinedly bumbling nature -- otherwise we might all be absolutely frantic by novel's end. Laughing

If that had been a continious pattern, it could have been mild OCD, but in this instance, just a case of nerves, and after all he is a methodical sort of person. JMO
I believe you'll find he drives his car in much the same way. Maybe it's a transportation thing.

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mitty
Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:21 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 02 Aug 2004 Posts: 1354 Location: Way Down Yonder.......
I loved his method for learning to drive though! Hadda laugh at learning to drive while stuck in bed.
I still would only call him methodical.
The craze for calling every other personality type a disorder is irritating.
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mitty
Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:34 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 02 Aug 2004 Posts: 1354 Location: Way Down Yonder.......
The cover that Marj posted at the front of the thread is only one of several I have seen, but Nabokov was not satisfied with any of them. He had very definite ideas about how Timofey should look. Brian Boyd, in VN: The American Years says...
Quote:
At the beginning of October, Nabokov howled in pain at the projected cover illustration for the book, and sent all the instructions and photographs he could to ensure that the person on the cover would be his Pnin...

Partially...
Quote:
I have just received the sketches. They are executed with talent, the picture as art goes is first-rate, but in regard to my Pnin it is wrong: The sketch looks like the portrait of an underpaid instructor in the English department or like a Republican's notion of a defeated Adlai, when actually he should look like a Russian muzhik clean-shaven. I am sending you some photographs of Pnin-like Russians, with and without hair, for a visual appreciation of the items I am going to discuss.
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whiskeypriest
Posted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 6:48 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 6916 Location: "It's a Dry Heat."
mitty wrote:
The cover that Marj posted at the front of the thread is only one of several I have seen, but Nabokov was not satisfied with any of them. He had very definite ideas about how Timofey should look. Brian Boyd, in VN: The American Years says...
Quote:
At the beginning of October, Nabokov howled in pain at the projected cover illustration for the book, and sent all the instructions and photographs he could to ensure that the person on the cover would be his Pnin...

Partially...
Quote:
I have just received the sketches. They are executed with talent, the picture as art goes is first-rate, but in regard to my Pnin it is wrong: The sketch looks like the portrait of an underpaid instructor in the English department or like a Republican's notion of a defeated Adlai, when actually he should look like a Russian muzhik clean-shaven. I am sending you some photographs of Pnin-like Russians, with and without hair, for a visual appreciation of the items I am going to discuss.
Check out the cover they use in wikipedia. Think it might be post-Lolita?

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

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mitty
Posted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:34 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 02 Aug 2004 Posts: 1354 Location: Way Down Yonder.......
Almost certainly.
That would have to qualify as "philistine vulgarity".
Laughing
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unohoo
Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:14 am Reply with quote
Joined: 30 May 2004 Posts: 210 Location: Houston, Tx
Been reading the comments so far, pretty interesting. Have nothing to add other than when I initially read Pnin, I missed a lot of what you guys have been talking about in terms of the humor. All I can remember about the book was that Pnin was a likeable loser. Even that might be wrong, but I'm mad because I can't find my copy of it anywhere!

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mitty
Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:46 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 02 Aug 2004 Posts: 1354 Location: Way Down Yonder.......
Unohoo, I hope you are able to find your copy, and reread. Timofey gives every appearance superficially of being just a likable sort that is a bit....flaky perhaps. And I'd have to admit, he does have that side to him, but otoh, he is, as all Nabokov characters (and all humans, well most Rolling Eyes ) multi-layered. He simply learned to hide his passionate and caring side partially because of the deep pain he'd endured.


One of the most telling scenes for that section of his character was when he was at the gathering at Cook's Castle with the friends of his past. One Madam Shpolyanski brought out that she was cousin to Mira, Pnin's first love and touches on Mira's terrible end.
Pnin stays outside after all have gone in for tea reflecting on the past and how it blends into the present. Seeing the same people, in similar circumstances a continent and an ocean.....and lifetime away.
Quote:
Pnin told Madam Shpolyanski he would follow her in a minute, and after she had gone he continued to sit in the first dusk of the arbor, his hands clasped on the croquet mallet he still held.
Two kerosene lamps cozily illuminated the porch of the country house. Dr. Pavel Antonovich Pnin, Timofey's father an eye specialist, and Dr. Yakov Grigorievich Belochkin, Mira's father, a pediatrician, could not be torn away from their chess game in a corner of the veranda, so Madam Belochkin had the maid serve them there--on a special small Japanese table, near the one they were playing at--their glasses of tea in silver holders, the curd and whey with black bread, the Garden Strawberries, zemlyanika, and the other cultivated species, klubnika (Hautbois or Green Strawberries), and the radiant golden jams, and the various biscuits, wafers, pretzels, zwiebacks--instead of calling the two engrossed doctors to the main table at the other end of the porch, where sat the rest of the family and guests, some clear, some grading into a luminous mist. .....................The country house that the Belochkins rented that summer was in the same Baltic resort near which the widow of General N---- let a summer cottage to the Pnins on the confines of her vast estate, marshy and rugged, with dark woods hemming in a desolate manor. Timofey Pnin was again the clumsy, shy, obstinate, eighteen-year-old boy, waiting in the dark for Mira--and despite the fact that logical thought put electric bulbs into the kerosene lamps and reshuffled the people, turning them into aging émigrés and securely, hopelessly, forever wire-netting the lighted porch, my poor Pnin, with hallucinatory sharpness, imagined Mira slipping out of there into the garden and coming toward him among tall tobacco flowers whose dull white mingled in the dark with that of her frock. This feeling coincided somehow with the sense of diffusion and dilation within his chest. Gently he laid his mallet aside and to dissipate the anguish, started walking away from the house, through the silent pine grove.


The "attacks" that Timofey suffered...I wonder if they were a sort of panic attack.
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pedersencr
Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:43 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 921 Location: New Orleans
OMG Mitty! What a selection!
That makes clear why, no matter what other reasons we may have for reading Nabokov, we read him for his writing!
What a superb example!
I am absolutely swept away here,
Charles

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mitty
Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 4:15 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 02 Aug 2004 Posts: 1354 Location: Way Down Yonder.......
I loved the blending of the two scenes past and present...Nabokov makes it seem so effortless and is so seemless, that at first the reader hardly realizes what is happening, then Wham! Smile
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mitty
Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:03 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 02 Aug 2004 Posts: 1354 Location: Way Down Yonder.......
BTW Whiskey, I'm bushla over there. Smile
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whiskeypriest
Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:13 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 6916 Location: "It's a Dry Heat."
mitty wrote:
BTW Whiskey, I'm bushla over there. Smile
I figured that out.

I will turn more attention to this after the holidays. I just haven't had the time to go back over Pnin in detail the last few weeks. This is a bad time of year to start a discussion.

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