NABOKV-L post 0018540, Sun, 23 Aug 2009 09:06:31 -0300

Re: Von Humboldt/Humbert reply to the reply of my query.

J. Bowen:"...I would be eager to know if anyone has inquired more deeply than I into "Humbert Humbert" and revealed more plausible sources for it."

JM: Cf. Playboy, January 1964 interview with Alvin Toffler, Strong Opinions, Vintage, pp 20.

AT: "...what inspired you to dub Lolita's aging inamorato with such engaging redundancy?"
VN: " That, too, was easy. The double rumble is, I think, very nastu, very suggestive. It is a hateful name for a hateful person. It is also a kingly name, and I did need a royal vibration for Humbert the Fierce and Humbert the Humble. Lends itself also to a number of puns*. And the execrable diminutive "Hum" is on a par, socially and emotionally, with "Lo," as her mother calls her."

* - Would Nabokov have had in mind a pun he created in 1965, in an interview with Robert Hughes, who asked him about American writing? "The sexy, phony type of best seller, the violent vulgar novel, the novelist tratment of social or politial problems... And the popular mixture of pornography and idealistic humbuggery makes me positively vomit." (SO,p.58)

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