NABOKV-L post 0018210, Wed, 22 Apr 2009 13:44:27 -0300

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Re: THOUGHTS: kot or in Pale Fire and otrok in Pushkin
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Alexey Sklyarenko: In one of my recent kot or posts I mentioned [...] otrok ... the word that occurs twice in the opening line of Pushkin's "homoerotic" poem Podrazhanie arabskomu ("Imitation of the Arabic", 1835):
Otrok milyi, otrok nezhnyi...[ One being split in two we dwell,/ The kernel of a double nut/ Embedded in a single shell.] ...Hazel is of course a nut-bearing shrub or tree. Like peanuts or almonds, hazel nuts sometimes have a twin kernel.

JM: We had lively discussions, in the past, about Kinbote's offer of a knackle of walnuts in the fatidic day. There were also postings about a reference in SM on the Nabokov's as a family "with one nut-cracker", etc. Walnuts, unlike hazels and almonds, characteristically bear a twin kernel whose shape is similar to the brain's. The walnut's contents do not necessarily imply in a "same gender", but it is as metaphorical about the nostalgia of fusional completude. This issue is further complicated by the platonic ideal described under the "androgynous" or the "hermaphrodite" (these composites directly suggest man and woman, hermes and aphrodite...) when, in Plato, if I remember well, the two-in-one could be formed by various doubles. Speaking of appearances and deceit Nabokov, in Pale Fire, introduces the "trompe l'oeil" artist Eysenstein and one of his demonstrations on a treasure hunt describes the painting on a wall representing a nut that may be pried open and inside there is a "real" nut, or a half-nut (I cannot remember now - and I think it was a "wallnut" ).

My sentence, directed to Jim Twiggs, was left suspended. I was describing Nabokov's theme ( through Poe,Chesterton, also found in F.Pessoa, in Freud's spy-joke...) about soaring out from what, at first glance, seems to be too scatological for words, like a clown who develops wings or a tumbler-pigeon turning into an angel (RLSK). That's a bit of "gnostical turpitude", indeed. Growing potatoes from "iph/if/peut-etre" to introduce Rabelais and piles... before flying away like a reflected waxwing in pure azure. Summing up: I meant to write that Nabokov writes of pain to hide pain, writes of love to hide love, speaks the truth to hide the truth, etc. Perhaps because he wants the purity of a blue reflection and the mediation of words to bear unspeakable pains?

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