Monday, July 19, 2010

Lolita's creator loved soccer

And now that the noise of vuvuzelas has finally died down and Fifa 2010 has been declared a success, I am pleased to give you some feedback on Vladimir Nabokov's attitude towards soccer. Last month, on the opening day of the World Cup in South Africa, I asked the rather silly (and as it turned out, totally uninformed) question: Did Vladimir Nabokov like soccer?

The question was prompted by Pale Fire, in which the author supplied a long list of popular pastimes that he did not appreciate, including jazz music, which I still find hard to swallow.

'If anyone reading this could enlighten me, I'd be really grateful,' I added, not seriously expecting an answer.

So imagine my delight when I was quickly relieved of my ignorance by a couple of readers - and one of them turned out to be the great Nabokov's only son, to whom I also referred in that post. Dmitri Nabokov informed me in no uncertain terms that his father had indeed been a life-long soccer fan. What's more, he had actively enjoyed the game by playing goalkeeper for Trinity College, Cambridge, and later for an emigré club in Berlin. Talk about facts from the horse's mouth! Not that I mean to call Dmitri Nabokov a horse. It was bad enough, in his eyes, that I called his father an opinionated old fart.

Sorry, Mister Nabokov Junior, if I hurt your feelings - but I did add that I adore your father's writing, fart or not.

And this reply made my day. I was struck, once again, by the immediacy and the accessability of internet. Like many other modest bloggers I sometimes suspect that I keep a blog mainly for my own pleasure, not really caring much whether anyone else actually reads it. Now Dmitri Nabokov's reaction has once again reminded me that these posts are indeed read, sometimes by the most surprisingly well-connected people.

So I guess I'll keep blogging a while longer. Who knows who might answer me next?

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