NABOKV-L post 0016352, Mon, 5 May 2008 22:55:50 -0400

Re: LOlithophanic note

I wonder if it was the quote below that Graham Greene was thinking about when he asked VN if he were a Catholic based on something he had read in Lolita. Fran Assa

Date: Sun, 4 May 2008 21:06:39 -0700From: chtodel@COX.NETSubject: [NABOKV-L] LOlithophanic noteTo: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU

Lolita’s Lithophantic eternities

In addition to exotic vocabulary ityems VN was very fond of optical delusions (cf the “non-non” (Russ. netki) of the undistorting mirrors in Invitations to a Beheading among many others. These optical tricks that play with dimensionality are part and parcel of VN’s “otherworld” theme. The following example is from Lolita, part II, ch. 31. Don Johnson
At this solitary stop for refreshments between Coalmont and Ramsdale (between innocent Dolly Schiller and jovial Uncle Ivor), I reviewed my case. With the utmost simplicity and clarity I now saw myself and my love. Previous attempts seemed out of focus in comparison. A couple of years before, under the guidance of an intelligent French-speaking confessor, to whom, in a moment of metaphysical curiosity, I had turned over a Protestant's drab atheism for an old-fashioned popish cure, I had hoped to deduce from my sense of sin the existence of a Supreme Being. On those frosty mornings in rime-laced Quebec, the good priest worked on me with the finest tenderness and understanding. I am infinitely obliged to him and the great Institution he represented. Alas, I was unable to transcend the simple human fact that whatever spiritual solace I might find, whatever lithophanic eternities might be provided for me, nothing could make my Lolita forget the foul lust I had inflicted upon her.
The Blair Museum of Lithophanes
German lithophane of the Fountain in the Park of Versailles mounted in a blue and red glass frame. When the ambient light is extinguished and the lithophane is back-lit, a beautiful, three-dimensional picture appears in incredible depth and detail. When you see the actual lithophane at the Blair Museum, you will see some additional lithophane magic which cannot be seen in a two dimensional photograph. Due to the three dimensionality of lithophanes, the perspective will change as you walk past the lithophane. The avenue behind the fountain actually appears to move.
The image just below is lighted from the viewers’ position.

. Only when the image is back-lit, does the second version become visible. (See below.) Note that in this two-dimensional version the three-dimensional is,alas, lost.

Search the Nabokv-L archive with Google
Contact the Editors
All private editorial communications, without exception, are read by both co-editors.
Visit Zembla
View Nabokv-L Policies
Windows Live SkyDrive lets you share files with faraway friends.
Search the archive:
Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors:,
Visit Zembla:
View Nabokv-L policies: