NABOKV-L post 0018482, Wed, 29 Jul 2009 22:50:53 -0300

[NABOKOV-L] Tangential Nabokov: curiosities and fluff
A few years before his death (1922-1926), R.M.Rilke began to write poems in French. Their titles or themes struck my attention (windows,street-acrobats, butterflies) because they are also recurrent in Nabokov's works. The few items I read on "Les Fenêtres" deal with windows as "framing devices" and as "passages" - with the poet standing in a street to look at them, or looking through them from the inside.
Their spirit has nothing in common with Nabokov's overall intention in Pale Fire, for example.
The closest is*: "Toi qui sépares et qui attires,/changeante comme la mer, -/ glace, soudain, où notre figure se mire/ melée à ce qu'on voit à travers;"
( You who attract and separate,/ mutable like the sea, - / a mirror in which, unexpectedly, a face finds itself/ blending with what is seen through it)
Cp."...And from the inside, too, I'd duplicate/ Myself, my lamp.../ ... I'd let dark glass/ Hang all the furniture above the grass."

Among Rilke's "poems in prose," I found one about a small moth, a "Farfallettina", whose perfection courts its own destruction by fire, as if "God, exausted and drained after having created it, condemned it to the flames to recover a little of his strength". ( "C'est en toi, ma chère, que Dieu s'est epuisé. Il te lance à la flamme pour regagner un peu de sa force") Creator Shade's backyard auto-de-fé, Nabokov's initial plans qua TOOL...?
Cp.Kinbote's Foreword: "As a rule, Shade destroyed drafts the moment he ceased to need them: well do I recall seeing him from my porch, on a brilliant morning, burning a whole stack of them in the pale fire of the incinerator before which he stood with bent head like an official mourner among the wind-borne black butterflies of that backyard auto-da-fé."

* - "La Fenêtre" II, "Jardins".

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