NABOKV-L post 0018065, Wed, 25 Mar 2009 12:15:25 -0700

Re: de fencing lessons]
Jansy's quite right, H.H. reports, servants rumors I believe, that Sybil was in love with his father and that he "light heartedly" took advantage of this fact one rainy afternoon and forgot about it entirely by the time the weather had cleared, more or less correctly paraphrased. I've always had a slight fondness for this self sacrificing woman whose maternal dedication seems to have gone sadly unappreciated. I explained my own views of the meaning "fatal rigidity" in a previous response.

--- On Wed, 3/25/09, Jansy <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote:

From: Jansy <jansy@AETERN.US>
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] de fencing lessons]
Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 10:15 AM

SK-B: ... am I mistook? The singular imperative of Prendre is Prends, not  Prend! 'Prends garde à toi' is how I recall it. Or am I missing some
idiomatic quirk? And the meaning is NOT really "Keep guard of yourself." More like BEWARE! Or RUN FOR COVER!
Did you notice that Shade was not only "corrupted" and "terrified," but, blow me, ALLURED by the "forced" attentions?[...]Shade is a real weedy, whingeing poet-taster![...] Let's face it, it all leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Yet James Twigg sees a contradiction with lines 103-4, where JS relishes the "half-fish, half-honey of that golden paste."
EDNote: to my ear, this passage resonates eerily --why?--with the following from Lolita: "My mother's elder sister, Sybil, whom a cousin of my father's had married and then neglected, served in my immediate family as a kind of unpaid governess and housekeeper.  [. . . .] I was extremely fond of her, despite the rigidity--the fatal rigidity--of some of her rules. Perhaps she wanted to make of me, in the fullness of time, a better widower than my father" (10). Why "fatal rigidity"? ~SB

JM:Hochard and Andrea, not me, can say if you're mistuck. 
The translation came from the internet as a short-cut: your "beware" warning sounds loud and clear. Shifting the context back to Maud and Shade: is the exclamatory "blow me" to blyme?
Fatal rigidity, ça fait rever... why fatal? why related to a (feminine) aunt? There was something going on in the family, but I always thought (incorrectly?) that Aunt Sybil occupied HH's mother's place in relation to the boy and to the boy's widowed father...Not necessarily like Kunin's Aunt Maud seducing little Shade.    

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