NABOKV-L post 0019347, Sun, 7 Feb 2010 15:01:10 -0200

In a blog organized by translators intent to guarantee their authorial rights against plagiarists, we find:

07/02/2010: jorio - lolita "A LOLITA DE NABOKOV, OU O DESEJO COMO OBSESSÃO"
Close to his essay about obsessive love and desire, Jorio Dauster includs a paragraph from his excellent translation.

Here is Nabokov's original (excerpt): "Somewhere beyond Bill's shack an afterwork radio had begun singing of folly and fate, and there she was with her ruined looks [...] and I looked and looked at her, and knew as clearly as I know I am to die, that I loved her more than anything I had ever seen or imagined on earth, or hoped for anywhere else...No matter, even if those eyes of hers would fade to myopic fish, and her nipples swell and crack, and her lovely young velvety delicate delta be tainted and torn - even then I would go mad with tenderness at the mere sight of your dear wan face, at the mere sound of your raucous young voice, my Lolita."

Here the translated paragraph (fragments):
Jorio Dauster: "De trás do barraco de Bill..., e lá estava ela com sua beleza destroçada, as veias saltadas nas mãos estreitas de adulta, a pele arrepiada nos braços brancos, as orelhas sem viço, as axilas descuidadas, lá estava ela (minha Lolita!) irremediavelmente gasta aos dezessete anos... - e fiquei olhando para ela, sabendo, tão lucidamente como sei que vou morrer um dia, que eu a amava mais do que tudo o que jamais vi ou imaginei neste mundo, ou que possa esperar em qualquer outro. Ela era apenas um traço fugaz de perfume, o eco de uma folha morta, quando comparada à ninfeta sobre a qual eu rolara outrora gemendo de prazer; um eco à beira de uma ravina acobreada, com uma floresta longínqua sob o céu lívido, folhas marrons sufocando o riacho, um derradeiro grilo nas ervas ressequidas... mas, graças a Deus, não era apenas esse eco que eu venerava. Aquilo que eu costumava acariciar entre as vinhas emaranhadas de meu coração, mon grand péché radieux, estava reduzido a sua essência: todo o resto, o vício estéril e egoísta, fora abolido, amaldiçoado....Insisto em que o mundo saiba o quanto amei minha Lolita, esta Lolita, pálida e poluída, carregando o filho de outro homem, mas ainda com os mesmos olhos cinzentos, os mesmos cílios cor de fuligem, os mesmo tons de castanho e amêndoa, a mesma Carmencita, ainda e sempre minha! ...Não importa, mesmo que teus olhos fiquem embaciados como os de um peixe míope, mesmo que teus mamilos inchem e se rachem..mesmo então eu enlouqueceria de ternura à simples vista de teu rosto amado e lúrido, ao simples som de tua voz rouquenha, minha Lolita."

JM: The lines Jorio selected are some of the most beautiful lines about "undying love" in Literature.
The nymphet fantasy and its ecstasies gives way to a living pale and polluted young girl ("What I used to pamper among the tangled vines of my heart...had dwindled to its essence: sterile and selfish vice, all that I canceled and cursed... I insist the world know how much I loved my Lolita, this Lolita, pale and polluted..."). The abject rape and viol, whereby a fantasy is transformed into reality, becomes now a "sterile and selfish vice" (not the fantasy itself, I surmise). HH adds:..."thank God it was not that echo alone that I worshipped."
Whenever Nabokov has Humbert write about "my (his) Lolita," we find that HH is behaving possessively and blindly*. As already stated by A.Appel Jr. in his Annotated edition, HH also writes, in a genuinely heart-rending way, following the manner of the Roman poet Cattulus to his mistress, "mia Lesbia," "Claudia mia."* When HH exclaims "Oh, my Lolita" (instead of "that girl Lolita") there are fundamental changes of address and mood. HH's last words are even more special for now he is addressing Dolores Haze directly before he adds, "my Lolita".


* - "all the boys' eyes on her hair and neck, my Lolita;"a chance to be alone with my Lolita for weeks, perhaps - and gorge the limp nymphet with sleeping pills;"I overtook my prey ...and she was my Lolita again - in fact, more of my Lolita than ever;" "You will dwell, my Lolita will dwell (come here, my brown flower) with thirty-nine other dopes in a dirty dormitory" ..."My only grudge against nature was that I could not turn my Lolita inside out and apply voracious lips to her young matrix, her unknown heart, her nacreous liver, the sea-grapes of her lungs, her comely twin kidneys." "provided I could lock my Lolita up somewhere..". My Lolita had a way of raising her bent left knee."

** The word "forever" referred only to my own passion, to the eternal Lolita as reflected in my blood.The Lolita whose iliac crests had not yet flared, the Lolita that today I could touch and smell and hear and see... - that Lolita, my Lolita, poor Catullus would lose forever.
There is a gradual building up of VN's perception of his "nymphet", but it is not chronologically indicated: ( "she, this nouvelle, this Lolita, my Lolita, was to eclipse completely her prototype") and "all this gets mixed up with the exquisite stainless tenderness seeping through the musk and the mud, through the dirt and the death, oh God, oh God. And what is most singular is that she, this Lolita, my Lolita, has individualized the writer's ancient lust, so that above and over everything there is - Lolita." His regret and shame: "nothing could make my Lolita forget the foul lust I had inflicted upon her. Unless it can be proven to me - to me as I am now, today, with my heart and by beard, and my putrefaction" In this other example he seems to blend various "my Lolita" indicators: "Oh, my Lolita, I have only words to play with." Then: " Lolita remarked:/ "You know, what's so dreadful about dying is that you are completely on your own"; and it struck me...that I simply did not know a thing about my darling's mind ...dim and adorable regions which happened to be lucidly and absolutely forbidden to me......oh my poor, bruised child./ I loved you. I was a pentapod monster, but I loved you....And there were times when I knew how you felt, and it was hell to know it, my little one. Lolita girl, brave Dolly Schiller." [...]
Everything culminates here: "I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita."

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