The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

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'A supine round bracket'

Vladimir Nabokov, interview with the New York Times, 1969:

How do you rank yourself among writers (living) and of
the immediate past?

I often think there should exist a special typographical
sign for a smile–some sort of concave mark, a supine round
bracket, which I would now like to trace in reply to your

: )

(Shared by a friend on Google Reader.)


I love the simple 🙂

It’s so adorable. Which is just amazing considering it’s just a colon and a right hand (round) bracket put together.

Tim Carmody says…

I can’t remember if Nabokov typed. He was famous for his use of handwritten index cards, which gets a kind of self-parody in Pale Fire. But his lament about the typographical limitations of the language/keyboard sounds like the lament of a typist. Hmm.

Tim Carmody says…

Results of some Googling: according to Steve Coates, “Nabokov never worked with a typewriter.” But some of his correspondence appears to be typed.

A couple of possibilities: 1) Nabokov had someone – his wife, probably, or a secretary – type letters for him. 2) N. could type, but never used a typewriter to compose his novels.

What’s the corresponding technical question for novelists today? “Did Colson Whitehead use Twitter?” (Yes.) “Did Nicholson Baker have a blog?” (No.) “What kind of phone did Zadie Smith have?” (I don’t know – but now I kind of want to!)

Zach Seward says…

“Did Nabokov type” reminds me of a thief’s note that made the rounds earlier this year. It’s the only time I’ve seen an emoticon handwritten on its side as though typing. Could just be a Fargo, North Dakota, thing.

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