My Own Private Ulysses: Nabokov on Nausicaa
While banging out Lolita, Naughty Nabokov slummed it at Cornell. His lecture notes on James Joyce’s Ulysses describe the incriminating Nausicaa episode as “a sustained parody of feminine magazine or novelette prose with all the clichés and false elegances of that kind.”
I'm unschooled in the vast literature “of that kind.” I somehow dodged the required reading of Jane Austen novels and their endless adaptations, zombies included. The only romance novel I’ve ever read is Fight Club.
This utter lack of qualification didn’t stop one creative visionary from hiring me to perform a lickety-split, uncredited re-write of a Hallmark Channel movie. The usual script paramedics must have been ignoring their beepers that weekend. I don’t recall the title: The Something Somewhere of Saint Somebody. It stared Jeopardy! champion Cheech Marin as a Catholic priest. I’m not sure what role Chong played. That’s a whole other podcast.
Besides reading thousands of Bumble profiles (looking at the pictures anyway), I remain woefully ignorant of the romance genre.
And yet, I love the Gerty MacDowell half of Ulysses' Nausicaa episode, every “cliché,” every “false elegance,” every single sentence.
Wait until my psychotic sparring partners at the mixed martial arts gym hear about this one.