Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vladimir Nabokov on Revisions

Vladimir Nabokov comparing his father, Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov, to himself in his editorial inclinations:

The preserved drafts of some of his proclamations (beginning “Grazhdane!”, meaning “Citoyens!”) and editorials are penned in a copybook-slanted, beautifully sleek, unbelievably regular hand, almost free of corrections, a purity, a certainty, a mind-and-matter cofunction that I find amusing to compare to my own mousy hand and messy drafts, to the massacrous revisions and rewritings, and new revisions, of the very lines in which I am taking two hours now to describe a two-minute run of his flawless handwriting. His drafts were the fair copies of immediate thought. 

Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited (Vintage International, 2011), pp. 165-166.