NABOKV-L post 0017606, Thu, 22 Jan 2009 13:37:57 -0200

Re: QUERY Lolita scene
Julian Connolly [to Jim Tonn:I seem to remember that there is a scene in Lolita in which Humbert notices that two pictures hanging in a motel room are identical. Can anyone who has read through recently confirm that this scene exists or provide context?] The scene in question is in Chapter 16 of Part 2: "In these frightening places...the pictures above the twin beds were identical twins."

A.Pitzer (off list) [to query on a firefighter recuing a child's favorite toy]: Page 373, Lectures on Literature.

JM: In the meantime, I came to an adstral link to Lolita's John Ray. His re-emergence from the past is purely coincidental, I'm sure (almost sure - one never knows with VN).
While I was researching two different themes ( RLSK/ Hawthorne/Salem and RLSK/jongleurs/St.Anthony's fire), departing from Priscilla Meyer [Cycnos, Volume 24 n°1 Vladimir abokov, Annotating vs Interpreting Nabokov, Actes du colloque , Nice,2006 "Life as Annotation: Sebastian Knight, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Vladimir Nabokov", I tried to obtain data about this ardent 12th C. epidemic, later called "Ergotism". In the Wikipedia there was a mention to an 18th century John Ray.
I thought some of you might enjoy this other older John Ray.

Wikipedia: Ergotism is the effect of long-term ergot poisoning, traditionally due to the ingestion of the alkaloids produced by the Claviceps purpurea fungus which infects rye and other cereals... also known as ergotoxicosis, ergot poisoning and Saint Anthony's Fire. Ergot poisoning is one of the explanations of bewitchment...The symptoms can be roughly divided into convulsive symptoms and gangrenous symptoms... Usually the gastrointestinal effects precede central nervous system effects. As well as seizures there can be hallucinations resembling those produced by LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide, to which the ergot alkaloid ergotamine is an immediate precursor and therefore shares some structural similarities), and mental effects including mania or psychosis...
History: Epidemics of the disease were identified throughout history...Rye, the main vector for transmitting ergotism...the earliest reference to ergotism in the Annales Xantenses for the year 857: "a Great plague of swollen blisters consumed the people by a loathsome rot, so that their limbs were loosened and fell off before death." In the Middle Ages the gangrenous poisoning was known as ignis sacer ("holy fire") or "Saint Anthony's fire", named after monks of the Order of St. Anthony who were particularly successful at treating this ailment. The 12th century chronicler Geoffroy du Breuil of Vigeois recorded the mysterious outbreaks in the Limousin region of France...The blight, named from the cock's spur it forms on grasses, was identified and named by Denis Dodart who reported the relation between ergotized rye and bread poisoning in a letter to the French Royal Academy of Sciences in 1676 (John Ray mentioning ergot for the first time in English the next year), but "ergotism" in this modern sense was first recorded in 1853.
Notable epidemics of ergotism, at first seen as a punishment from God, occurred up into the 19th century. Fewer outbreaks have occurred since then, because in developed countries rye is carefully monitored.According to Snorri Sturluson, in his Heimskringla, King Magnus, son of King Harald Sigurtharson, who was the half brother of Saint King Olaf Haraldsson, died from ergotism shortly after the Battle of Hastings.
Salem Witchcraft Accusations: The convulsive symptoms that can be a result of consuming ergot tainted rye have also been said to be the cause of accusations of "bewitchment" that spurred the Salem witch trials.....References: Timothy Taylor, 2003. 'The Buried Soul: How Humans Invented Death' (Fourth Estate Ltd) Fuller, John. The day of St Anthony's Fire. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-095460-2. ; Caporael, Linnda (April 1976). "Ergotism: The Satan Loose in Salem". Science 192: 21. doi:10.1126/science.769159. PMID 769159. Matossian, Mary (July-August 1982). "Ergot and the Salem Witchcraft Affair". American Scientist 70; Spanos, Nicholas; Jack Gottlieb (December 1976). "Ergotism and the Salem Village Witch Trials". Science 194: 1390. doi:10.1126/science.795029. PMID 795029. Sidky, H. (1997). Witchcraft, Lycanthropy, Drugs and Disease: An Anthropological Study of the European Witch Hunts. Peter Lang.

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