NABOKV-L post 0020803, Thu, 30 Sep 2010 16:02:30 -0300

Subject
Re: Nabokov's eyes
Date
Body
Stephen Blackwell: No time for research right now, but my memory and at least one source gives Nabokov's eyes a hazel shade.
..The Atlantic's ninth editor-in-chief, Edward Weeks. The two men were introduced in 1941 by the critic Edmund Wilson and began to meet regularly for lunch at th eRutz Hotel in Boston. Weeks was enchanted by Nabokov. As the editor recalled years later in an interview,"He would come in a shabby tweed coat, trousers bulging at the knee, but be quite the most distinguished man in the room, with his perfectly beautiful hazel eys, his fine brown hair, the elan, the spark . . . ." Any significance to the present discussion?

JM: I tried to find the reference using google-desktop. I came with various (uncertain) references to hazel eyes:
Sebastian Knight "It contained among other things a wicked Chinaman who snarled, a brave girl with hazel eyes, and a big quiet fellow whose knuckles turned white when someone really annoyed him..."

Despair(?): "I sometimes used to ask myself, what on earth did I love her for? Maybe for the warm hazel iris of her fluffy eyes, or for the natural side-wave of her brown hair... But, probably the truth was that I loved her because she loved me... I remember once, when I first put on that new dinner jacket, with
the vast trousers, she clapsed her hands, sank down on a chair and murmured: 'Oh, Hermann...."

La Veneziana: "The painting was very fine indeed. Luciani had portrayed the Venetian beauty in half-profile... she seemed...to have frozen motionless, her hazel, uniformly dark eyes gazing fixedly, languidly from the canvas.

Solus Rex ( or Ultima Thule) in a small island of text there's an interlingual mention to Hazel (cf. the color of VN's passport-eyes): "The words of the family arms, "see and rule" (sassed ud halsem), used to be changed by wags, when referring to him, to "armchair and filbert brandy" (sasse ud hazel)."

Scott's Lady of the Lake, the poem from which Nabokov borrowed the name Hazel Shade, opens with the famous chase of a stag by a hunter that begins in the woods of Glenartney and ends at the shore of Loch Katrine... Scott's poetry thus connects Kinbote's Zemblan past with the story of Hazel's life... Cf. Nabokov's Pale Fire and the Romantic Movement (with special reference to the Brocken, Scott and Goethe) by Gerard de Vries


I also dipped through Strong Opinions and Speak,Memory, looking for a reference to Nabokov's description of what his passport information contained. As usual, I was led astray and got nowhere special.
Anyway, I was reminded that Nabokov's nose is " a Korff nose" (SM,ch.3,p.53) and a concrete version of a versipel is "a sheepskin with the leather outside" worn by the Nabokovscoachman Zahar (ch.5, 98). In SO, p.83, Nabokov gets angry at questions related to "The Doppelg*anger" theme ("the subject is a frightful bore..." "I do not see any Doubles in 'Laughter in the Dark.' A lover can be viewed as the betrayed party's Double but that is pointless."

At least, these collected curiosities may point the way for further searches and be more easily recoverable through search-machines and pursued in detail...

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