NABOKV-L post 0017635, Fri, 30 Jan 2009 10:57:51 -0200

Re: Albion and black albinos
Re: [NABOKV-L] Albion
SK-B [ for the Irish, it's always PERFIDIOUS ALBION! The phrase is indivisibule! [...] I quickly tired of Updike's explicit sex; after 2 promising rabbits! Did VN's admiration last longer than mine?[...] David Foster Wallace's biting critique quoted in today's Times: "No US novelist has mapped the solipsist's terrain better than Updike"]

JM: Solipsists, unite? I always thought Updike was the perfect example of small communities' Biblical "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself".
To recover VN's commentaries on Updike would take up some time and I cannot recollect any specific reference to "admiration" on his part. I didn't read the Rabbits (1-2-3-sorry Dad! -4-5-6) but I did enjoy "Bech at Bay" and the first chapters of "Marry Me".

Speaking of neighbors: I hadn't realized until now that Shade approaches "cicada" and "waxwing" when writing his birthday verses*, although Kinbote called our attention to that: Lines 181-182: waxwings... cicadas - "The bird of lines 1-4 and 131 is again with us. It will reappear in the ultimate line of the poem; and another cicada, leaving its envelope behind, will sing triumphantly at lines 236-244."

The cicada's triumphant song derives from "Dead is the mandible, alive the song." and, in this instance both the song and the insect live on.

CK directed the reader to "another cicada" and away from the triumphant one, related to Hazel (it was found on the day she died), thereby emphasizing his retrospective knowledge about Shade's murder (his-song-will-survive-him thanks-to-me kind of thing).

For Shade, on that special date, both cicada and waxwings are thriving.

For Kinbote the first and the last line of PF mention the dead waxwing (the last line is, of course, the unwritten one).

For Nabokov the last word in the poem is "lane" (SO), curiously present in the "message" Hazel took down: "pada ata lane pad not ogo old wart alan ther tale feur far rant lant tal told".

CK notes on Hazel's own annotations that "...some of the balderdash may be recombined into other lexical units making no better sense (e.g., "war," "talant," "her," "arrant," etc.). The barn ghost seems to have expressed himself with the empasted difficulty of apoplexy...And in this case we too might wish to cut short a reader's or bedfellow's questions by sinking back into oblivion's bliss - had not a diabolical force urged us to seek a secret design in the abracadabra..."

I wonder, now, if instead of the warning CK recognized, once more only in retrospect, these words might indicate Shade's survival in the hereafter? There are enough bifurcating lanes and lane-crossings all over PF.

F.K.Lane's letter, written on the eve of his death, mention: "The crooked made straight. The Daedalian plan simplified by a look from above - smeared out as it were by the splotch of some master thumb that made the whole involuted, boggling thing one beautiful straight line." This bird's-eye view might have appealed to Kinbote and Shade but the "beautiful straight line" is probably unrelated to any Nabokovian perspective of the hereafter. The reader must wander, cross and get cross at the various dead-ends and unfulfilled views and forking paths.

DZ compares the references to the "atalanta" ( ie: the red admiral, vanessa, butterfly) in PF's French version, and in the Russian, puzzled because there is no indication of the three hidden "atalanta's" in the English original.

In "Pnin" we have a play with words in relation to "Fire": Fire,feuer,fayer...Thayer. And "Lore" is a nickname for Lawrence. Strange.


* - Lines 180-181 in Shade's poem: "...Today I'm sixty-one. Waxwings/ Are berry-pecking. A cicada sings."

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