NABOKV-L post 0020884, Sat, 16 Oct 2010 17:43:51 -0300

Subject
Re: Vair and sizïy, columbine, shade: what is the shade of Gradus greyness?
Date
Body
"We know that all colors delight Shade, even grey, and that one of the names assumed by Gradus is Jacques de Grey or James de Gray. We haven't yet asked if this color indicates 'a columbine shade'."

JM: Yes! Gradus' grayness seems to relate to "pigeon-color" harlequinades! (what in RLSK moves from "tumbler pigeon" onto angels?)
Cf. CK's note on page 77 where Kinbote mentions that "by an extraordinary coincidence (inherent perhaps in the contrapuntal nature of Shade's art) our poet seems to name here (gradual, gray) a man...." The entire entry is marked by reference to line 17 and line 29 ("gray").
Shade's verse, which inspired Kinbote's note, reads "then the gradual and dual blue" . In the French translation (supervised by Nabokov himself) the mention to "blue" is already part of the heading. We find "Vers 17: Et puis le bleu graduel; Vers 29: Gris".*

Another little item to add, related to spacetime. There is another reference to it by C.K (I had only remembered it in "Ada") besides the one I quoted while comparing it to Father Time and Mother Time. It's to be found on note to Line 209: "Gradual decay". Kinbote comments: "Spacetime itself is decay. Gradus is flying west; he has touched gray-blue Copenhagen (...). Once again I must puzzle about the insistence on Denmark (Shakespeare, Hamlet?) by the sudden passage from spacetime, decay, Gradus and "gray-blue" Copenhagen (Copenhavn almost echoes the word Onhava.) Why moving West, from imaginary Onhava towards a haven of "shoppers and commerce" is so clearly designated as pertaining to "decay"? Or is something else at stake here? Anyway, I just found two instances that suggest that Gradus is presented in relation to a "dual blue", a columbine-shade of gray.

*- I just got the copy of "Feu Pale" I'd ordered, once no one came to my help to encounter Hazel's register in French following the light-signs. In a future posting I'll compare both. Here I only want to confess that VN's "Feu Pale," is overwhelmingly enjoyable, it has a music of its own. I'm glad that I had to buy the French version, now...


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