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Reference to "(picnic, lightning)" in Ada

Submitted by Alain Champlain on Sat, 06/27/2020 - 06:10

From Ada, part 1, chapter 6:

Alonso, a tiny wizened man in a double-breasted tuxedo, spoke only Spanish, while the sum of Spanish words his hosts knew scarcely exceeded half a dozen. Van had canastilla (a little basket), and nubarrones (thunderclouds), which both came from an en regard translation of a lovely Spanish poem in one of his schoolbooks.

The parenthetical '(a little basket)' and '(thunderclouds)' are, to my eye, a reference to the famous '(picnic, lightning)' in Lolita:

August 19, 1959, Cedarn Utana MARYROSS Fri, 06/26/2020 - 15:52

Kinbote signs his foreword to Pale Fire with the date “August 19, 1959, Cedarn Utana.” This date contains crucial information to understanding the novel.


WIP “Archetype, Alchemy, & Allegory: The Jungian Substrate of Nabokov’s PALE FIRE” MARYROSS Tue, 06/23/2020 - 16:46

     For several years now I have been posting on this site various ideas I have about a Jungian substrate to PALE FIRE. I have now consolidated and formulated three main parts of my  WIP “Archetype, Alchemy, & Allegory: The Jungian Substrate of Nabokov’s PALE FIRE” which I’ve uploaded to Cambridge Engage, a new site for works-in-progress. These also can be viewed on

Some thoughts on Gennady Barabtarlo 's "See Under Sebastian"

Submitted by MARYROSS on Wed, 05/27/2020 - 20:19

I would like to say how much I appreciate the new feature, “Classics From the Nabokovian.” It’s hard to be “up” on everything that’s been written on Nabokov, even though we have this great resource here. I really enjoyed   Gennady Barabtarlo's "See under Sebastian," The Nabokovian 1990.24: 24-28.


alamillo j_j_bermudez Thu, 05/14/2020 - 12:59

Could the elusive Alamillo in "Time and Ebb" be the mexican general Luis Alamillo Flores, born in 1904? Not that he seems a match of Hitler, but being a military attache in Washington DC, Paris and the Pacific, he could be well known by Nabokov at the time of writing this tale.

Funny to think of that "98 war" too...


Maud Bodkin& Northrop Frye in PF

Submitted by MARYROSS on Tue, 04/07/2020 - 17:59

I posted the other day about how I think Northrop Frye’s  Jungian based “Archetypal Literary Criticism” may actually be more the target of VN’s parody in Pale Fire than Jung himself.


I’ve gone back into the Listserve archives and found some interesting notes on Maud Bodkin, who’s preceded Frye with Jungian based literary criticism.


Gennady Barabtarlo wrote in 1998 (!):

"Calendric correspondencies"

Submitted by William Dane on Tue, 04/07/2020 - 00:57

This year seems to correspond with the dates and days of the main year of Pale Fire's narrative (1959), other than January and February (1959 was not a Leap Year but 2020 is). 

For instance the letter that Kinbote says he received from Disa "on April 6, 1959" (pg 93, Vintage version), would have arrived on a Monday, like today. (And had a fast turn-around time, being in response to a letter he had air-mailed on the Thursday before (page 257).)

(The quote in the title is from page 84.)