NABOKV-L post 0017450, Fri, 12 Dec 2008 23:04:09 -0200

Re: Fw: [NABOKOV-L] Third Man and Pushkin's Requiem
Frances Assa [to JM] I beg to differ. Why bring in Eliot at all? And if you're looking for contemporary sources, the phrase The Third Man more likely came from Graham Greene's book and the movie made from it. VN did not much appreciate Eliot...
JM: Data massima venia but Eliot's presence in Pale Fire is far from spectral, even though VN was often critical of T.S.E.( I don't think he dismissed him as easily as it might seem to you ).

Alexey (a retake): ...The leaving out of the "t" in the second (or rather third, if we count the particule in the middle) component of her nom de plume should make it more intime (1.31). In the old Russian alphabet, the letter "t" was called tvyordo ("hard," used as an adverb in the sense "firmly," "solidly," etc.).
JM: It is interesting to contrast this "hard", "solid" "t" in ADA ( where it is used for Ida's sentimental novels and poor lyrical connections), with the one in Lolita ( as an expression of genuine "lyricism"). I look forward to your sonorous developments in the same way in which I visually enjoied VN's colored alphabet...
VN advises in SO (p.53): "my nymphet's grace and of the soft, melting American landscape slip very delicately into lyrical Russian.[...] Note that for the necessary effect of dreamy tenderness both "l"s and the "t" and indeed the whole word should be iberized and not pronounced the American way with crushed "l"s, a coarse "t" and a long "o".
( also p.25) a diminutive with a lyrical lilt to it. One of the most limpid and luminous letters is the "L". The suffix "-ita" has a lot of Latin tenderness, and this I required too. Hence: Lolita....

Related Quotes from


Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

SO: "Lah-lee-ta, svet moey zh izni, ogon' moih chrsel. Greh moy, dusha moya."


A pale diaphanous butterfly with a very black body followed them [...] closely related to a Japanese Parnassian. Mlle Larivière said suddenly she would use a pseudonym when publishing the story.[...]her gorgeous pseudonym 'Guillaume de Monparnasse' (the leaving out of the 't' made it more intime) was well-known from Quebec to Kaluga.

Search archive with Google:

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

Manage subscription options: