NABOKV-L post 0018232, Fri, 24 Apr 2009 14:18:08 -0300

Re: QUERY: Sources for "empyrean" and "blue-tinted or
rose-shaded" quotes in VN
Didier Machu:Could anyone help me locate these two quotations? "an unwarranted leap into the empyrean"; "a blue-tinted or rose-shaded photograph taken by a stranger"

JM: Since I love photography and movie-effects I tend to underline VN's references. I haven't yet returned to SM or SO (where Nabokov describes Box I or II's tail coming out of focus, or a picture taken at the beach by strangers and in which he appears as part of the background). I started on other works - and found no "blue-tinted or rose-shaded photograph".
Negative finds can be enlightening, too. So here they are:
"on this painted photograph — a dream-wide street with droshkies all awry under incredibly blue skies, which, farther away, melt automatically into a pink flush of mnemonic banality."
"getting steadily fatter in a world of photographic backgrounds and real front gardens."
(I love this reference to Marianne Moore's real toads in imaginary gardens... it also links with the photograph in which VN is part of the background...)
There are many rich references to photographs in Pnin, Ada, Lolita... but none seem to match the quote you want. I couldn't resist copying another, from Pale Fire (it only caught my attention now! It's in CK's last line!)
"But whatever happens, wherever the scene is laid, somebody, somewhere, will quietly set out — somebody has already set walking toward a million photographers, and presently he will ring at my door — a bigger, more respectable, more competent Gradus."

I recently quoted from Ada (but lost the reference to bring it up again here) where she exclaims that movie-producers hadn't yet been able to produce the overall effect that words could engender. That VN's words managed to achieve in the reader...
Yesterday I read a few stories by Asimov and there is one, "Gold" , in which high-tech scientists are working on compu-dramas. A first successful rendering of Shakespeare's "King Lear" produces effects of "sublimination", suggestion, blend of sound and image and texture, etc. The next project will be to represent a novel, "Three in One", by Gregory Laborian."
"Three in One" reminded me not only of Carolyn's project, Matt's arguments and Boyd's theories, but a rather (un) holy trinity and Sklyarenko's quotes about Aristophanes' speech ( not to mention C.G.Jung's theories from alchemical anima, shadows and the hyerophant - born from King Sun and Queen Moon ).
The interesting element, though, is the emphasis on computerized "synesthesia" that transforms words into something new. After Willard (the producer) manages to film "Three in One" Laborian says that it is: "much better than your King Lear...Consider the material you had to work with in doing King Lear. You had William Shakespeare, producing words that sang, that were music in themselves; William Shadespeare producing characters who, whether for good or evil, whether strong or weak...were all larger than life; William Shakespeare, dealing with two overlapping plots, reinforcing each other, and tearing viewers to shreds...But in Three in One, Mr.Willard, you were working with my words which didn't sing; my characters, which weren't great; my plot which tore at no one. You dealt with me...produced something great that will be remembered long after I am dead. One book of mine, anyway, will live on because of what you have done."
I doubt that any movie, even with 3D technology and more, would have the effect that VN's words, themselves, generate. But it is interesting to imagine how Pale Fire might come out using Asimov's technological fictional tools...

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