NABOKV-L post 0017292, Sun, 9 Nov 2008 15:06:31 -0200

Re: QUERY: Aunts and exciting find (maybe)
Frances Assa: Graham Greene's Travels with My Aunt has a twist on this. [Spoiler:] The aunt, who turns up at the protagonist's mother's funeral, turns out to be the real mother.
JM: The same kind of twist VN parodied in TRLSK [...] VN mentions in "Lolita", Agatha Christie's "A Murder is Announced": One her characters is called Pippa (that "doesn't pass or piss", as quipped in Pale Fire) for the name Pippa is not sufficiently informative about gender.

BTW: There's something else linking Lolita's parody of A.Christie's "Pippa". I forgot to add that VN had mentioned Pippa in another occasion in Lolita. He might have alluded to a mixed gender or family tie not really in words, but by hinting at something and meaning something else. In PF there's the "here pappa pisses" in contrast with "here pippa passes". In Lolita there might be many other readers, like me at first, who'll believe that HH's:"J'ai toujours admiré l'ouvre du sublime Dublinois." indicates James Joyce, not Robert Browning!

VN's direct mention to Pippa: " She watched the listless pale fountain girl put in the ice, pour in the coke, add the cherry syrup - and my heart was bursting with love-ache. That childish wrist. My lovely child. You have a lovely child, Mr. Humbert. We always admire her as she passes by. Mr. Pim watched Pippa suck in the concoction:"J'ai toujours admiré l'ouvre du sublime Dublinois."[...]

Heavens, an original find ( I think)!!! I was googling for Mr.Pim ( I couldn't believe VN would have meant Gordon Pim or Poe at this juncture) . And in 1921, on Broadway, there was a show with the title "Mr.PIM PASSES BY" ( an A.A. Minlne's comedy). How equivocal can one author be??????????????????

If this musical comedy has been mentioned before, sorry. I'm unable to check Appel's notes, nor extend my search any further. I'll soon add the poster I got at the internet.

It's sooooooooooo amazing. Lolita passes by indicates Pippa passes and a Dublinois is thrown in before he becomes...Mr. Pim watches Pippa and Mr. Pim Passes By...

There's more. Also A.A. Milnes is a Dubliner!

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors:,
Visit Zembla:
View Nabokv-L policies:
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:"

Manage subscription options: