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Mashup: Nabokov's Signs and Symbols + Katherine Mansfied's The Fly

"All this, and much more, she had accepted, for, after all, living does mean accepting the loss of one joy after another...." --from Signs and Symbols

“How on earth could he have slaved, denied himself, kept going all those years without the promise for ever before him of the boy’s stepping into his shoes and carrying where he left off?” --from The Fly

What happens when you take two brilliant modernist stories and read them side by side? Do they bleed into one another, altering their textures and hues? That is my hope.

So, let us mash up Nabokov's Signs and Symbols and Katherine Mansfield's The Fly, both deceptively "about" parents and children, yet whose narratives defy any succinct characterization and persist in haunting us well after the reading is over. (You have to trust me on this last bit, till you do.)

And for once, there is no need to "buy the book." You can find the stories at:

Signs and Symbols

The Fly

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  • Bo

    Yes, yes, the literary poker meetup. Brilliant. I can just about see it ... "Biggest pot of the night. I call. Time to show them. What are you holding there?" "Full house. Read em and weep." "Mumble." "Grumble." "Excuse me. I've got in my hand all the cards from a Nabokov short story. A classic lit hand. I believe that currency has my name on it, thank you very much. And thanks, Vlad!" What could Full House possibly say?

    August 2, 2012

    • Arlinda S.

      Hmm, what could a Full House say...I haven't thought it through, but "No Exit," perhaps? I'm no fan of Sartre, but for some reason he and a few other existentialists come to mind. So, to play this kind of poker, all at the table must come armed with satire.

      August 3, 2012

  • norrie e.

    It was a brilliant move to pair these two stories. I learned a lot.

    August 2, 2012

  • Arlinda S.

    Bo, what a shame the dog couldn't partake in our latest quest for meaning. We could always use more friendly "barks" in our discussions...canine or human. Does that mean I should get busy devising some sort of literary poker?

    July 31, 2012

  • Bo

    Good meeting Sunday about great writing. Much to my surprise, on my way home I ran into the same dog who had earlier RSVPd Yes to our meeting. At the moment we met, one of us was sniffing around for classic lit in another dog's back end. Anyway, point is he went on about how his dogwalker had scheduled him for a meetup with a fire hydrant during our meeting time. He seemed sincere as he bow-wowed his boo-hoo over missing the chance to yip and yap with us about dog's search for meaning in those stories. Also he would not stop barking about how he wanted no part of poetry readings because people are too hard to understand when they speak unless they're wanting to go out, they all sound the same, they don't enunciate...but poker, now that sounded to him like the way to meetup!

    July 30, 2012

  • Bill W

    Peter: If you start attending only if you like the reading we may never see you again!

    July 24, 2012

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