NABOKV-L post 0018601, Fri, 25 Sep 2009 13:40:34 -0300

Re: from Ron Rosenbaum re: an encounter with <Laura>]
Ron Rosenbaum:List members might find my account of first looking into the prepublication edition of <The Original of Laura> of interest. I am particularly grateful to Dmitri for the acknowledgment. I did read all 138 index cards, but for the time being that was the only matter Knopf permitted me to write about.

excerpts: "If Dan Brown's latest is The Lost Symbol, you might say Nabokov's Laura is The Last Symbols: his final written words, the draft he wanted burned if he died before completing it. The one that had been secreted away in a strongbox in a Swiss bank vault for decades[...] The one-and this is what made it so seductive, an object of worldwide fascination among littérateurs-that might contain a clue or clues, a code, for all we knew, that would offer new perspective on the often cryptic prose of past Nabokov masterpieces. Perhaps, through a glass darkly, we could glimpse the author's last reflections on the dazzling corpus that came before[ ...] And so a numinous aura surrounded the object I beheld on the 21st floor-as if it were a newly discovered Dead Sea Scroll. And there was an aura of controversy as well [...] I don't believe that literature is something to be decoded in some Rosetta Stone-like fashion. I am a disciple of the "seven types of ambiguity" school of literary interpretation, which contends that mechanical, symbol-translating decoding reduces the potential efflorescence of a work's beauty and signification [...] To me, Nabokov's mind is more worthy of wonder than any that has expressed itself in print in the four centuries since the birth of Shakespeare."

JM: one (of at least two) R.Rosemnbaum verbal references, vaguely associating the TooL cards to Shade's Pale Fire under Kinbote's scrutiny:
"Perhaps, through a glass darkly, we could glimpse the author's last reflections on the dazzling corpus that came before[ ...] And so a numinous aura surrounded the object."

in Nabokov( Kinbote's foreword): "Another pronouncement publicly made by Prof. Hurley and his clique refers to a structural matter. I quote from the same interview: "None can say how long John Shade planned his poem to be, but it is not improbable that what he left represents only a small fraction of the composition he saw in a glass, darkly." Nonsense again! Aside from the veritable clarion of internal evidence ringing throughout Canto Four, there exists Sybil Shade's affirmation (in a document dated July 25, 1959) that her husband "never intended to go beyond four parts." Nay, I shall even assert (as our shadows still walk without us) that there remained to be written only one line of the poem..., and damn that music. Knowing Shade's combinational turn of mind and subtle sense of harmonic balance, I cannot imagine that he intended to deform the faces of his crystal by meddling with its predictable growth."

Quite recently, and apparently by chance, two names have been mentioned together: William James (by James Twiggs recommendation of Stephen Blackwell's THE QUILL AND THE SCALPEL: NABOKOV'S ART AND THE WORLDS OF SCIENCE) and Henry James ( by J.Twiggs nice "thank you to Jansy for her interesting take on Wilson's famous essay on THE TURN OF THE SCREW."), the world of religious noumena versus psychology, ambiguity versus clarity, sacred codes versus human mind.

Ron Rosenbaum's words about a biblical "through a glass darky"* play with the idea of a God-Nabokov (poor mortals may only darkly glimpse), now revealed by a numinous aura haloing the mysterious cards. Or they play with a non-ambiguous revelation about the mind of a singular genius (or two, if we consider the coincidental birthdates for VN and WS). Or they express a Ron R.'s Kinbotean irony sharing a bit of authorial glories and excitement.
I wish I could add four more options to reach a magical seven, but my imagination has already exausted its breath of reverential possibilities. No diminishing fascination with the approaching promised words (actual or effaced), though.

(I'm curious to learn more about the Playboy edition in Portuguese, if it will reach me as punctually as its original original)

*different from Kinbote's translation, with its "in a glass darkly", but enough has already been discussed about that variation.

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