NABOKV-L post 0018445, Sun, 12 Jul 2009 00:05:55 -0300

Re: Fw: [NABOKOV-L] On plums and Bend Sinister,PS
J.Aisenberg: ...Vivian Darkbloom, according to John Ray Jr., has written a biography called "My Cue" "her best book"--clearly this is a pun title given to a manuscript which must be an indiscreet book about her relationship with the murdered playwright, Quilty, as in "My Q"? But if his name wasn't really Clare Quilty...Lolita's first name is the only "real" one in the book... then the pun would be literally meaningless in the world of the of the book.
[...] it seems John Ray is pretty clear that he edited the final manusript [...] he left all those quirky instructions...In other words I disagree with you a bit. I think obviously, in the world of the book, Humbert initially did begin his text as a part of his defense for killing Quilty, but it metamorphosed into an arty confession to expiate his guilt; to Ray, it really is a case study, and a work of art...

JM: I retained only general guidelines related to my present comments:
(a) That's an excellent point about V.Darkbloom's "My Cue" and the substitution of "real" names in the novel.
Perhaps Quilty's "real" name also began with the letter Q? Would it then preserve the pun?

(b) Would J.Ray be qualified to judge HH's book from the point of view of an art critic?

(c) "Confessions of a White Widowed Male", even with J.Ray's introduction, doesn't represent a "case study". Case studies demand the study of a case: J.Ray Jr had very little to say about HH.
Freud's famous "Schreber Case" is only based on Daniel Paul Schreber's published memoirs* which, in themselves,don't constitute a case study. Schreber's book inspired various different psychiatrists and psychoanalysts to write their "case history" based on their theoretical understanding while studying Schreber's book and other clinical data obtainable at the clinics where he underwent treatment under the care of different doctors.

(d) I agree with you that it is possible that Humbert began his text as part of his defense for Quilty's murder and then it became an "arty confession". John Rays' role in transforming HH's "confessions" into "Lolita" remains mysterious to me.

Fran Assa: Sybil Shade could be Vladimir's pseudonym. But consider the possibility of it being Vera's translation. Are there any handwritten versions in existence? My wild stab in the dark is due to having always pictured the Sybil of Pale Fire as Vera, for some reason.

JM: Vera participating in VN's texts, like Ada in Van's? It makes sense...It might very well have been Vera's translation! Or both had a go, since there is a variant offered in the PS. (I was intrigued by their choice of the word "bark" for barque, ship. I kept being led to a mischievous dog in Shade's last verses, instead of embarking in the rythm of their translation)


* -Wikipedia: Daniel Paul Schreber (25 July 1842 - 14 April 1911) was a German judge who suffered from what was then diagnosed as dementia praecox. He described his second mental illness (1893-1902), making also a brief reference to the first illness (1884-1885) in his book Memoirs of My Nervous Illness (original German title Denkwürdigkeiten eines Nervenkranken). The Memoirs became one of the most influential books in the history of psychiatry and psychoanalysis thanks to its interpretation by Sigmund Freud.[...] Schreber was a successful and highly respected judge until middle age when the onset of his psychosis occurred. He woke up one morning with the thought that it would be pleasant to "succumb" to sexual intercourse as a woman. He was alarmed and felt that this thought had come from somewhere else, not from himself. He even hypothesized that the thought had come from a doctor who had experimented with hypnosis on him; he thought that the doctor had telepathically invaded his mind.As his psychosis progressed, he believed that God was turning him into a woman, sending rays down to enact 'miracles' upon him, including little men to torture him.Schreber died in 1911, in an asylum.
Although Freud never interviewed Schreber himself, he read his Memoirs and drew his own conclusions from it. Freud thought that Schreber wanted to be turned into a woman so that he could be the sole object of sexual desire of God (who represented Schreber's father, Daniel Gottlob Moritz Schreber). Freud's diagnotics was paranoid dementia.This view has been contested by a number of subsequent theorists, most notably Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari ... Elias Canetti also devoted the closing chapters of his theoretical magnum opus Crowds and Power to a reading of Schreber. Finally (though by no means exhaustively), Jacques Lacan's Seminar on the Psychoses is predominantly concerned with reading and evaluating Schreber's text over-against Freud's original and originating interpretation....

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