Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nabokov & Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

From Debra Bruno's Legal Times profile of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
On taking an undergraduate class with Vladimir Nabokov at Cornell:
"He was an incredible character. I thought many times that he changed the way I read and the way I write. I loved his class; I can still hear the things he said. When I read Lolita, I could just imagine how he said those syllables."

She remembers his advice on good writing: "'Have the reader ready for what you're going to say.' He gave an example of why he liked the English language. He said, think of French (which was his first language): If you say 'white horse' in French, it's 'cheval blanc.' And you immediately hear 'horse' and you're thinking 'brown.' But in English it's 'white horse,' so you don't see a brown horse and have to displace it. He was big on the written word and on making word pictures."

She thinks about Nabokov when she writes today: "I do fuss over my opinions, and I hope I never stop."
Read the full profile.

(h/t to NABOKV-L)

--Marshal Zeringue