NABOKV-L post 0018504, Mon, 10 Aug 2009 13:47:59 -0300

[NABOKOV-L] Tangential Nabokov: Infinite fore and aftertime...
Ressurecting an old posting [( Nabokov-L, 5/1/2009 ) "The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness." (SM) ... and a variant from Shade's Pale Fire: "Outstare the stars. Infinite foretime and/ Infinite aftertime: above your head/ They close like giant wings, and you are dead." (John Shade, in V.Nabokov´s Pale Fire, lines 122/124)], and a more recent one with Thomas Mann's and Goethe's sentences concerning a Venetian gondolla/berth/coffin -- to add another item to the collection:

In "The Shipping News," a 2001 drama film directed by Lasse Hallström (based on the 1994 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by E. Annie Proulx) the theme of afterlife is brought up once again. Nevertheless, the context in which conjectures about our brief passage through life ("like a boat which crosses the ocean before it sinks") becomes slightly ridiculous and rather enjoyable to follow. A fisherman was drowned in the cold Neufoundland waters. During his wake one of his companions philosophize about these grave issues when, all of a sudden, the dead man spurts out his mouthful of the ocean, and rises from the candle-lit table ( it reminded me of a scene in Jorge Amado's 1959 short-novel, The Two Deaths of Quincas Wateryell ). The improvised solemn speech is cut short - to the speaker's enormous discomfiture. Life goes on as usual for the ressurrected guy, his community, our nuclear planet... like a bigger boat before it sinks, while infinite foretime and aftertime close their giant wings.

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