NABOKV-L post 0018154, Wed, 8 Apr 2009 12:52:17 -0300

kot or in Pale Fire
Re: [NABOKV-L] kot or in Pale FireJM (a) [to Stan K-Bootle]: An apt expression for calculating scientists: "Allusional Potential". Shall we measure it from single-sentence outputs? For example, how can we plot kot-kats in:
"Then he clattered, in Lucette's wake, down the cataract of the narrow staircase, katrakatra (quatre à quatre). Please, children not katrakatra (Marina)."

Now that I shifted to Ada, here is an intriguing exchange:
" ... That's not real "sudak", papa, though it's tops, I assure you.' (Marina, having failed to obtain the European product in time for the dinner, had chosen the nearest thing, wall-eyed pike, or 'dory,' with Tartar sauce and boiled young potatoes.)
'Ah!' said Demon, tasting Lord Byron's Hock. 'This redeems Our Lady's Tears.' "
Bouteillan whispers a fabulous name to Marina. Probably Demon approves.Van advises his father about a "sudak" substitute, while we learn that Marina was offering "wall-eyed pike" or "dory" for dinner. Next Demon tastes the white Rhine wine and mentions Byron* and Hock to redeem "Our Lady's Tears."

Query: What do "Our Lady's Tears" indicate? "Lachrima Christi" is too sweet, an apperitif?. An option would be "Liebfraumilch". Neither is fabulously convincing.
Might Demon's redemption make reference to Dolores (as in "Our Lady of Tears"), whom Van mentions in relation to Swinburne and his lover, Dolly or Adah?
I fail to understand links, indications, a common thread: Waltzes, whirls, whorls, wine and tears, Dolores,Turgenev, Katya, Byron, Ada, incest ... Is there any particular "fishy clue"?
I think Stan's indicator ("Allusional Potential"), in the absence of any clear-cut shared phoneme, will be awfully skattered. Actually, this will happen ( and he knows it) even with any chosen word or syllable...

*Wikiquotes, from Byron, offers The Waltz (l.29) "Imperial Waltz! imported from the Rhine (Famed for the growth of pedigrees and wine), Long be thine import from all duty free, And hock itself be less esteem'd than thee."
Adaquotes: "As he looks, the palm of a gipsy asking for alms fades into that of the almsgiver asking for a long life. (When will filmmakers reach the stage we have reached?) [...] Ada explained to her passionate fortuneteller that the circular marblings she shared with Turgenev's Katya, another innocent girl, were called 'waltzes' in California ('because the señorita will dance all night')."

JM (b) [to J. Aisenberg] Very good points related to the limits of "compassion", and also to the bunching of seemingly unrelated states ( bliss, kindness, ecstasy, aso). Nevertheless, I don't think that VN only "wrote it because it was such a wonderfully horrible story," although this motivation is quite clear.
For me VN's novels serve to illustrate how often readers are equally horribly wonderful - as some of his characters may become, like Kinbote, when at his most adastral-dreamy and while he chimes in with Shade and VN, on "pity."
(After Shade confesses himself to be "with the old snuff-takers: L'homme est né bon"... Kinbote asks him about his "password". Shade answers: "Pity." Still, Kinbote wonders: "With no Providence ...a personality consisting mainly of the shadows of its own prison bars [...] not despair, He is not terror,[...] not the black hum in one's ears fading to nothing in nothing. I know also that the world could not have occurred fortuitously and that somehow Mind is involved as a main factor in the making of the universe." )


Stan K-B to AS: Cat-a-mite might just point to PF's queer common-tater [...] Who else but VlaDEEMir [..] VN's own playful pronuciation guide: "rhymes with Redeemer." (quoted in VN's NY Times obituary) PS: the Greek prep kata- (cata-) has dozens of helpful meanings and has spawned thousands of words in many languages. allusional potential is hugely inviting. À la Chasse!

J.Aisenberg ( on compassion):Fyodor, while positive, seems priggish and prissily put off by everybody but Zina and his own family [...]Ganin too seems superior and unpleasant[...] who can only think of life in totally self-centered terms. Martin, of Glory, has been romantically conceived by his maker [...]Nabokov seems find what Martin does quite fascinating and admirable, while to this reader he just seemed nutty and pathetic[...] I've always found strange reading N's afterward to Lolita [...]"For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm." It seems like a bunch of things have been put together [...] It's seems like he's (VN) left a crucial operation out of his stated formula which the reader must intuit for themselves, or else the sentiment is just fancy footwork [...]or...find a different way to say that he wrote it because it was such a wonderfully horrible story and it was great fun evoking characters whose lives explode in such a sordid way, which would be the answer I would give.

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