NABOKV-L post 0018711, Mon, 26 Oct 2009 14:33:29 -0200

Re: [NABOKOV-L] Et In Arcadia Ego, correction and addition.
JM: There is a misleading sentence, concerning Guercino, which I'll correct as follows:
"I gained the impression that VN's various references to "Arcady" may be derived from different writers and painters. Poussin's "Les Bergers d' Arcadie" (1594-1665), comes after Guercino (1591-1666), who also inspired Angelica Kauffman's (1741-1804) and Sir Joshua Reynolds's." (with my excuses).

additional comments on E.Wilson & V.Nabokov:
Edmund Wilson (letter 296, 1957) wonders why Nabokov concludes that Turgenev's short-story about Arcadia has a medieval source*.
He also disagrees with Nabokov's interpretation that the "ego refers to Death" since, for him, it indicates "the dead man in the tomb. The live shepherds are reading the inscription. Says Death: Even in Arcadia am I."
If not similar to King George's, Nabokov's interpretation might be in correct Latin and be closer to Erwin Panofsky's (did these two exiles ever meet in Berlin?), whereas Pope Clement IX, as mentioned by Panofsky, might have been Nabokov's "medieval source."
Cf. Erwin Panofsky (cf."Meaning and the Visual Arts") asserts that "correct Latin requires that ego be the subject of the sentence. Therefore Death is the speaker." Erwin Panofsky's ideas on the meaning of Et in Arcadia Ego
In former List exchanges the "Arcadia" theme was brought up often enough. From the "Pynchon-List" contributors I selected several items, including data on Panofsky**.

A.Sklyarenko:"Among invented islands, from Utopia to Zembla, may I mention Vozdushnyi ostrov ("Island in the Air"), a little known uncollected poem by VN (1929)."
JM: An uncolleted poem means one that has not been translated into English, too? How can I learn more about this mysterious island?

* Simon Karlinski finds that these lines in Turgenev's poem "Correspondence," have as their source Konstantin Batyushkov's "Inscription on the Grave of a Shepherdess" (1810) and this poem, in turn, applies to Poussin.

** - Selected entries found in the VN-L Archives (some related to Pynchon's "V" past exchanges). There may be mistaken attributions from various snippets because the archives are sometimes confused and difficult to explore. The originals are searchable online for further corrections.

14 Oct 2003 "D. Barton Johnson" pynchon-l-digest V2 #3602 PALE FIRE
Line 286: A jet's pink trail above the sunset fire:
[note by C.Kinbote] "I, too, was wont to draw my poet's attention to the idyllic beauty of airplanes in the evening sky. Who could have guessed that on the very day (July 7) Shade penned this lambent line (the last one on his twenty-third card) Gradus, alias Degré, had flown from Copenhagen to Paris, thus completing the second lap of his sinister journey! Even in Arcady am I, says Death in the tombal scripture." [Scott Badger] Kinbote also tells us that Gradus, on the same day, flies from Copenhagen to Paris, ending the paragraph with, "[e]ven in Arcady am I, says Death in the tombal scripture". An allusion to the fatal approach of death-by-Gradus, but is it also a suggestion of some more premonitory connection between Shade's line and Gradus' own jet-trail? On the other hand, maybe evidence of some "sinister" influence. "Who could have guessed?"....Of course, the accidental and farcical nature of Gradus' and Bretwit's meeting, and its fateful outcome, stands in sharp contrast to the clockwork progression towards Shade's assassination that Kinbote sets up at the beginning of this commentary (just as Shade counts down the moments, complete with clock, preceding Hazel's death in the poem; another aspect of, "even in Arcady am I", the suggestion that throughout Life we are ghosted by Death). But maybe there's some _Hamlet_ to this scene as well; Hamlet's production of his father's murder..."
Don Johnson: Boyd's NOTES to PF in the LOA edition report " "Et in Arcadia ego" in a paitning by Guercino (1591-1666) as well as by later painters.

23 Oct 2003 Notes Line 286:
Glenn Scheper: Et in Arcadia ego ... the words appear on a scroll issuing from a death's head on a tomb in Arcadia. ... Death is the speaker. Shade had written in but struck out namely "The madman's fate." With AF as poetic death/rebirth, phallus is scroll is tombstone.
A reflexive sacrifice is also slayer, hence Death. Hell follows.
Paul Mackin :Kinbote seems to be linking Shade's "jet's pink trail" with Gradus' flight from Copenhagen to Paris. Interestingly, a different version is erroneously quoted at:
"Even in Arcady am I," says Dementia, chained to her gray column." I don't recognize it, and couldn't find the source (a sign of my own
arcadian intellect, I'm sure.), but "Dementia" is suggestive of Kinbote and could also point to the insane asylum escapee, Jack Grey.
Heikki Raudaskoski : Well, there is a tomb in Virgil's fifth eclogue, that much is true, but you cannot find the words "et in Arcadia ego" anywhere in the poem. The shepherd Mopsus sings to shepherd Menalcas in #5, lamenting Daphnis's death: .Perhaps Virgil's Greek source had a phrase that might have been translated into Latin in that way. (though not by Virgil)
Jasper Fidget: Another mention of "Even in Arcadia am I" occurs in the commentary on Line 629. (this is the one quoted in the Harvard examination and I assume in the Cliff-like notes) Kinbote takes off not from the line itself but from a line K says Shade had written in but struck out namely "The madman's fate." Also, "Here Papa pisses" is a reference to Browning's dramatic poem "Pippa Passes," (1843) which the poet conceived while walking through Dulwich wood.
William Sharp, in his _Life of Robert Browning_, writes, "In that same wood beyond Dulwich to which allusion has already been made, the germinal motive of 'Pippa Passes' flashed upon the poet. No wonder this resort was for long one of his sacred places, and that he lamented its disappearance as fervently as Ruskin bewailed the encroachment of the ocean of bricks and mortar upon the wooded privacies of Denmark Hill."
Boyd writes, "Just as obscure Pippa passes by characters whose lives she affects without her ever meaning to -- including a sculptor whose art she redirects -- so the outwardly unprepossessing Hentzner proves an inspiration to John Shade when the self-important Kinbote, the incognito king, cannot stir his fancy" (_Magic of Artistic Discovery_, p. 88).
Terrance pointed out this paper concerned with death tropes and Randall Jarrell and which discusses Erwin Panofsky's ideas on the meaning of Et in Arcadia ego

NPPF: Summary Line 347: "The name "D'Argus" is hardly a disguise as it is an anagram of "Gradus." The name "Argus" alludes to Greek mythology. Argus was a watchman not an assassin, and another anagram of the name "Gradus" is GUARDS. The earlier commentary foreshadowed the arrival of "Dementia" in "Arcadia." In Greek mythology, Argus was the watchman for the town of Arcadia, ridding the utopia of pests, giants, and monsters."
"Argus has been called "The All-seeing", because he had eyes in his whole body, or perhaps only one hundred eyes in his head that slept two at a time in turn while the rest remained on guard. Argus was known for having killed a remarkable bull which ravaged Arcadia, and for having caught asleep and killed the monster Echidna, who used to carry off passers-by. Also when a Satyr wronged the Arcadians and robbed them of their cattle, Argus killed him." Ulysses dog (the one to first recognized him on his return) was named Argus, as was the builder of the Argo, the ship of the Argonauts.

Mon, 10 Nov 2008 VN ( EO, vol III pages 152-54) on the Lenore theme...Excerpts from VN's EO:
"Lenore is the celebrated ballad written at Gelliehausen, near Göttingen, in the summer of 1773, by Gottfried August Bürger [...] This pattern is exactly imitated by Zhukovski [...] and is exactly the stanza of Pushkin's The Bridegroom (Zhenih,1825), a poem far surpassing in artistic genius anything that Bürger wrote. His Lenore owes a great deal to old English ballads; his achievement is to have consolidated and concentrated in a technically perfect piece the moon-tomb-ghost theme that was, in a sense, the logical result of Death's presence in Arcadia, and the cornerstone of Goethe's Romanticism {...} Incidentally, the idea of magically rapid transit occurs, with a curious echoing ring about it, in The Song of Igor's Campaign, ... concerning a necromancing prince (Vsleslav), the latter is said to have been able to travel so fast."
Additional links through Brian Boyd on Lenore, Raven, Demon in ADA (Ada on-line) for 13.22-23: "Eugene and Lara" or "Lenore Raven":

October 26, 2009
M.Roth:[...][...] the "aunts and orphans" thread and the Cedarn thread unite in Mrs. Browning's "Aurora Leigh," [...]"As when you paint your portrait for a friend,/Who keeps it in a drawer and looks at it/Long after he has ceased to love you, just/To hold together what he was and is. That's precisely what "PF" is: an attempt by John Shade to hold together what he was and is [...] "cedarn shade" was indeed a well-known cliche [...]Interesting too that most of these uses of cedarn carry with them Milton's original context--a paradise or hereafter, Arcadian or Elysian.
JM: I agree with you, PF represent a poet's attempt to "hold together what he was and is"...Like in "Lenore" or in Goethe's Romantic "arcady" themes, Nabokov was dealing with loss, permanent loss (grief for a lost childhood, child-loves, Russia and language)...
Wolfgang Iser ( "Das Fiktive and das Imaginäre"), compares Virgil's eclogues and Sannazaro's, Sidney's and W.Alexander 's works on Arcadia, to illustrate how, for a poet that is grieving for a lost love, to search for Arcadia doesn't imply in an attempt to recover a lost paradise, but to find a place where it is possible to mourn for it...

A final bonus: There is an anagram with these words: "I Tego Arcana Dei," which, in translation, yields: "I buried the secrets of the Gods." ("Ich verberge die Geheimnisse Gottes"

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