Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pnin’s posy

He worked very slowly, with a certain vagueness of manner that might have been taken for a mist of abstraction in a less methodical man. He gathered the wiped spoons into a posy, placed them in a pitcher which he had washed but not dried, and then took them out one by one and wiped them all over again.

Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin (1957)
These sentences have stuck with me for twenty-five years or so. I often think of Timofey Pnin’s posy (bouquet) when I’m gathering forks, knives, and spoons from the sink.

comments: 2

Elaine said...

Well, this is dear. I haven't read the book, but perhaps I shall!
Oh, and your mention of "dishy" Jane Wyatt paid off today in the NYT's puzzle. Thanks!

I really love this dear blog, not least, of course, because it features an Elaine. (Rare jewels that we are.)

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Elaine. I’m glad to know there are at least two Elaines reading OCA regularly.

Pnin is a great satire of academic life and poses strange puzzles about narrative perspective. It’s a wonderful novel.