NABOKV-L post 0015649, Mon, 5 Nov 2007 22:51:19 EST

Subject
Re: QUERY: Marianne Moore, Edsel Ford, and VN
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In a message dated 11/5/2007 9:13:54 PM Central Standard Time,
NABOKV-L@HOLYCROSS.EDU writes:
>
> Dear List,
>
> Marianne Moore's famous line about poetry and "imaginary gardens with real
> toads in them" has often been quoted and it appears in "The Annotated Lolita."
>
> While I was googling for information about Moore ( not the sculptor who
> makes his appearance very indirectly - as I was once told - nor one of the
> characters in "Transparent Things" ) I discovered that she is related to the
> prosaic Ford failure, the Edsel car.
> Could VN have also had Mariane Moore in mind when he quoted the verses from
> a "real" Edsel Ford ( M. Roth's find and demonstrative quotes), thereby
> adding a curious twist to his Edsel reference in Pale Fire?

This may be possible, but I suspect that Edsel Ford sent him a book and that
he admired some of the work. When I was a grad student at Arkansas, Edsel
Ford was a "native son" who had gained some recognition, and I always thought he
was a pretty good poet, despite his being from rural Arkansas and having that
unfortunate name. It's just like VN to have championed, in a very small way,
a poet from the hinterlands who would never be taken very seriously because of
his cognomen.

Ford died in 1970 at the age of 41 from a brain tumor.

I'm sure that VN appreciated the irony of a poet's sharing his name with an
automobile, but I doubt that he was having fun at the unfortunate E. F.'s
expense. Marianne Moore's frustrated arrangement with the Ford Motor Company has
been well documented; she tried out names like "Utopian Turtle Topper" for the
car before giving up. What's interesting is that several of the names she
suggested did eventually find their ways onto fenders. "Chapparal" was one of
them.













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