NABOKV-L post 0016568, Mon, 23 Jun 2008 21:14:34 -0700

Re: children's rhymes
Oh, I'm sorry, I misunderstood. You did not mean literal ghosts. I thought this because Boyd is/was convinced that Lucette's shade literally intervenes to keep Van and Ada together when they meet again in their fifties toward the end of the novel. Yes, I know exactly what you mean, each time I read the book I feel I can see more and more of the lives of the servants, who seem to know more about what's going than Van and Ada do. There are some neat little examples I've gleaned from the book. The first morning Van spends at Ardis he comes upon Blanche wearing nothing but a robe from which his morning erection is obvious; he attempts to seduce her and she reels off a curious French speech about how if she succumbed she would fall in love and be ruined. Van thinks it sounds stiff and bookish and it dampens his ardor. Later that day, wandering about, he and Ada come across a cheap romantic novel lying around which Ada says belongs to one of the servants--the novel Blanche got
her speech from?

jansymello <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote: J.Aisenberg:When JM says that one can follow a "Gogol" style ghost story in Ada, presumably he refers to N.'s lectures on the "Overcoat"? I don't remember precisely how that one worked. "Bout-bouteille-butler-Blanche-Cinderella-Sores-Ben Wright-Fartukov"--This word chain, while I recognize the words from the book, and the word play, I don't know why these should all be run..

J.Mello : I was not offering a "word chain" but a list of "entries" that might indicate the world of servants, their habits, lore, songs aso as they unfold in a secondary, or tertiary sub-story when they are placed in this specific context.
VN considered Gogol's prose as "four-dimensional, at leat. He may be compared to his contemporary, the mathematician Lobachevsky..." ( a biography of Nikolai Gogol by Vladimir Nabokov, New Directions Paperbook,l961 (page 145).
The Cinderella/Blanche/pumpkin carriage, as it changes shape in "ADA", reminded me of Nabokov's comments in the same book ( I couldn't locate this example now).
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