NABOKV-L post 0018307, Fri, 8 May 2009 23:38:11 -0300

[NABOKOV-L] Conjectures on Assyrian black and blue beards
S.Klein posted a link thru Sunday, May 3rd, 2009 filed under In the News, quoting a theory, by Terry Castle of The New Republic, "that Nabokov knew The Price of Salt and modeled the climactic cross-country car chase in Lolita on Therese and Carol's frenzied bid for freedom." . Once in a while we find people mentioning "Lolita" and how "VN knew and modeled" some author without acknowledging it. For me, the reports about VN's adventures and butterfly-hunting expeditions in America, even had he read and enjoyed Patricia Highsmith's "cross-country car chase," provide sufficient material to garantee his original twist and HH's (often hallucinatory) Quilty in different disguises. Humbert Humbert mentions his beard in "Unless it can be proven to me - to me as I am now, today, with my heart and by beard, and my putrefaction - that...") in a novel that often returns to Beardsley, a bearded woman, a Miss Beard, a grieving Kasbeam barber.
HH once saw himself as a "Poor Bluebeard" - and another "blue-black beard" - grown by a "corpulent botanist's husband" - is also mentioned: he is "a handsome Assyrian with a little blue-black beard").
Kinbote, in New Wye, looks like a " Big Beaver" ( whereas well-shaven Shade resemble Samuel Johnson, or an old hag), but an "Assyrian beard" has irrupted before. When Luzhin's father ( in "The Defense") thinks about his son, he sees him as a "boy ...who is to glide, across the alternation of many nights and days, from the oblivion of breakdown into the whiteness of a hospital where the psychiatrist wears "a black Assyrian beard."
Perhaps in ADA, with its frequent excursions towards the Orient and ancient cities, or Aqua's doctors, there will be other assailing hairy "Assyrians" (Byronic or not). Did VN ever grow a beard? I vaguely remember studio-photographs related to VN with people wearing costumes and maks, but I cannot find them (if they exist) to check that.

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