NABOKV-L post 0017969, Tue, 17 Mar 2009 13:27:19 -0300

Re: Response to Aisenberg on Hegel's Holiday
C.Kunin: As usual, our dear JM has left out a bit of connective tissue that keeps her reference to "la Golconda" from being the complete non-sequiter it appears to be. The name of the Magritte painting is in fact LA GOLCONDA[...] I saw quite clearly that the hatted "raining" men are NOT caring umbrellas.
JM: While researching after Magritte's La Golconda, I came accross several paintings of his that are surrealistically suggestive of a mood in Pale Fire: the shattered windowpane with reflected and actual landscape[...] So, here they are to compensate for my mistaken umbrella ( it went on holidays with Hegel ) in the Golconda reproduction..
J. Aisenberg: ...Hegel's Holiday. It led me to read Hegel [...] Is it a dialectical gag? Thesis: rain. Antithesis unmbrella. Synthesis: pesron under protected by rain [...] A holiday from Hegelian reasoning?
JM: Nice! You focused on the umbrella I'd hallucinated in the Golconda painting. There are lots of things that can be said for a holiday from Hegelian reasoning...
R S Gwynn: This Magritte, known as "Not to Be Reproduced," has always struck me as very Nabokovian. Surely VN knew Magritte's work. Does anyone have a direct link between the two?
JM: Yes, I do. VN's novels and Magritte's paintings. Any other links would be indirect?
James Twiggs [ to Aisenberg] "Those are interesting thoughts about Magritte's painting called Hegel's Holiday. You can read what he himself said about it, along with a lot more in the way of commentary, by going here: SOVEREIGN STAIN: ON RENÉ MAGRITTE'S HEGEL'S HOLIDAY,Rex Butler

JM: I'd been bothered with the answer I sent to RSGwynn because the "direct link" obtained by setting novel and painting side by side, would only bring out their imagetic dimension (visual metaphors). It would not indicate another aspect they have in common and which is of the utmost importance: Nabokov and Magritte are artists who deal with "art about art".
I had remembred Jacques Lacan's lines: instead of departing from "a picture is worth a thousand words", Lacan went on to say that "every painting is hyperverbal", a painting invites verbalizations about it.
Nabokov's art is often an "hyperverbal picture" hanging on the wall (as he referred to the finished "Lolita") but it contains inside it myriads of other hyperverbal images, and those he himself sets out to discuss inside the novel and not only as ideas and metaphors, but as structural elements.

Rex Butler (following James Twiggs important indication) discusses Magritte's own developments about "Hegel's Holiday," as he described them in a letter to Suzi Gablik (then he went on to discuss Lacan's "gaze") ,wrote ( and I've underlined several words):
"Can we not say that Hegel's Holiday is a painting of painting itself, an attempt to show or represent the very thing that allows painting - painting as the transformation of unidentifiable blobs of paint into identifiable and nameable objects? Is not that passage from the mark or stain to the object we see there the very passage implied in all painting? And the impossible equivalence each drawing attempts to make - the two opposing things it must bring together - is just that between this knowing and this seeing. We would say that each of these drawings is this equivalence, but that it would always require another drawing for him to recognise this, a comparison of it to something else. Or, as Magritte said about another painting we shall be coming to in a moment, if what is produced finally has the "unequivocal character of an image."

PS: A delayed answer to C.Kunin's announcement to the List: It has been fun, but I think I have really said all I have to say about Pale Fire. I wish to retire - - at least in so far as Pale Fire is concerned. I never heard Gertrude Stein's famous remark, so I think the time has come to start hiding my ignorance under a bushel.
JM: How very biblically Kinbotean this remark, dear Carolyn. It hasn't been ignorance that which shone forth before...even James will agree will agree will agree with that, I suppose. Besides, baskets may act like sieves and I hope your newly-attired modesty won't prevent you from participating around the mulberry bush.

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