NABOKV-L post 0018489, Sun, 2 Aug 2009 23:42:02 -0300

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[NABOKOV-L][Tangential Nabokov] Demonic nymphtets: the beauty and
the beast
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While reading a text about sprites and mythological satyrs, fauns and nymphs, I was surprised by learning something which, on second thoughts, is quite obvious: these fantasies represent entities that are half-human and half-animal. Even the connection bt. Psyché and butterflies, or a set of feathery wings attached to seraphs and cherubins implicates the "bestial". Nymphs, in this case, would be both "the beauty" and "the beast."

Nabokov describes nymphic enchantment in connection to something "demonic," not actually "animal." Nevertheless, on chapter 31, when HH describes "nymphet love" he concludes that "the beastly and beautiful merged at one point, and it is that borderline I would like to fix, and I feel I fail to do so utterly. Why?...Reader must understand that in the possession and thralldom of a nymphet the enchanted traveler stands, as it were, beyond happiness..." Perhaps his answer perhaps lies in a reference to Lolita as "the most mythopoeic nymphet in October's orchard-haze"*, but I still don't understand what may have been implied by this "merging point".

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*Wiki describes "mythopoeia" as "a narrative genre in modern literature and film where a fictional mythology is created by the author or screenwriter. The word mythopoeia and description was coined and developed by J. R. R. Tolkien in the 1930s [...] While many literary works carry mythic themes, only a few approach the dense self-referentiality and purpose of mythopoeia[...]As opposed to fantasy worlds or fictional universe aimed at the evocation of detailed worlds with well-ordered histories, geographies, and laws of nature, mythopoeia aims at imitating and including real-world mythology..."



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