NABOKV-L post 0017598, Mon, 19 Jan 2009 15:33:23 -0200

[NABOVOV] [QUERY] Last moments: Nabokov and Dostoievski
Nina Kressova sent me the excerpt from Dostoievski's "The Idiot" in which she'd uncovered some of the elements shared by Borges ("The Secret Miracle") and Nabokov ("Invitation to a Beheading"), following a past VN-L posting about "time".
The paragraph quoted below reminded me of two particular instances, in Nabokov, related to a dying man's last perceptions and thoughts.

Dostoievski: "I imagine that various thoughts must beat loud and fast through his head--all unfinished ones, and strange, funny thoughts, very likely!--like this, for instance: 'That man is looking at me, and he has a wart on his forehead! and the executioner has burst one of his buttons, and the lowest one is all rusty!' And meanwhile he notices and remembers everything. There is one point that cannot be forgotten, round which everything else dances and turns about; and because of this point he cannot faint, and this lasts until the very final quarter of a second, when the wretched neck is on the block and the victim listens and waits and KNOWS--that's the point, he KNOWS that he is just NOW about to die, and listens for the rasp of the iron over his head."; Title: The Idiot; Author: (AKA Feodor Dostoevsky) Fyodor Dostoyevsky; Translator: Eva Martin.

[QUERY] Does anyone know where are Nabokov's words on:
(a) a hero who not only saves a child from a fire, but retrieves his favourite toy;
(b) a man dropping from a building and mentally correcting a wrong spelling on a billboard encountered during his fall.

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