NABOKV-L post 0018296, Wed, 6 May 2009 23:21:32 -0300

[NABOKOV-L] Harbingers and Don's note on a "back-quote"
22 January 2007 continuation of a quote from Don's comments on KQKn's Red Admiral:

"This "mortality marker" is made even clearer in DN's translation...revisions clearly establish the immanency of death as signaled by the Red Admiral--just as it does in PF... VN apparently inserted the 1962 PF echoes into the 1968 KQKn English version. BTW, Jane Grayson in her NABOKOV TRANSLATED provides a close comparison of the Russian and English texts of KQK noting the extensive alterations, but, does not (so far as I recall) comment on the significance above items. It is not often that an author has the opportunity to "back-quote" a later work."

JM: Don suggested that echoes of Pale Fire 1962 entered the English 1968 version of Russian KQKn.
I had thought the closeness of a Red Vanessa and death would confirm PF's lines - not the other way round. Don's idea is factually more relevant. May I propose something new? That a Red Vanessa and doom, plus other repeated items, are a part of an even earlier experience which Nabokov inserted in various novels? There are various elements that are placed together with clock-work toy, doom-butterfly and gardener and wheel-barrow. For example: sounds (trundling and clink-tinkle and click clunk) and "heraldic design" ( the Red Vanessa is a "heraldic butterfly") Wheels and wheeling, too?

Tom, the Alsatian dog, jumps from light into shadow to appear as a "spectre of a dog" (758).
Dreyer's gardener "moved off with his wheelbarrow, turning with geometrical precision at the intersections of gravel paths, and Tom, rising lazily, proceeded to walk after him like a clockword toy, turning when the gardener turned [...]Two men in top hats, diplomats or undertakers, went by...Out of nowhere came a Red Admiral butterfly, settled on the edge of the table, opened its wings..." (769)
Much later, when the first signs of Martha's deathly pneumonia start to appear, Blavdak Vinomori enters the picture, VN himself, "walnut-brown, "a suntanned fellow", while leaning "against the wall was some kind of net: a bag of pale-bluish gauze on a ring fixed to a rod of light metal" (901).

We also find a "split": "a strange rearrangement of emotions was taking place in him (Franz). Dreyer had divided in two.
There was the dangerous irksome Dreyer, who walked, spoke, tormented him, guffawed; and there was the second, purely schematic, Dreyer, who had become detached from the first - a stylized playing card, a heraldic design - and it was this that had to be destroyed." (863).

"From far below mounted the clink and tinkle of distant masonry work, and a sudden train passed between gardens, and a heraldic butterfly volant en arrière, sable, a bend gules, traversed the stone parapet, and John Shade took a fresh card."
Kinbote, note to line 408.

Where are you? In the garden. I can see/ Part of your shadow near the shagbark tree./
Somewhere horseshoes are being tossed. Click. Clunk.
/..../ A dark Vanessa with a crimson band/ Wheels in the low sun, settles on the sand
/..../ /.../ A man, unheedful of the butterfly -/Some neighbor's gardener, I guess - goes by
Trundling* an empty barrow up the lane.
Shade, lines 990/999

* -btw: Matt, besides the trundle exchange, Google-magic revealed a link (these are almost inevitable, considering the amount of retrievable online information) with John Webster's "The Duchess of Malfi"!!! Namely, "Cariola. Duchess's waiting-woman...Her name is a play on the Italian carriolo meaning "trundle-bed", where personal servants would have slept." Do you know if Lolita's folding-bed in the Enchanted Hunters falls under this category?

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