NABOKV-L post 0015747, Sun, 2 Dec 2007 16:43:06 -0200

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Re: THOUGHTS: Wenches and apples... - a PS
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RS Gwynn [Carolyn Kunin:... It is clear that something sexual (at least) is very wrong with Shade.]
In what sense, pray tell? He has been married to the same woman for many years, has good standing in his community and with his wife, has produced a child , and has the usual eye for attractive female students.

Jansy Mello: Let's hear what Nabokov has to say about those good "writers" :
‘It’s a good fairy tale,’ said Van.

‘It’s a fairy tale,’ said careful Ada.

‘Allons donc!’ cried Mlle Larivière, ‘On the contrary — every detail is realistic. We have here the drama of the petty bourgeois, with all his class cares and class dreams and class pride.’



Jerry Friedman : But I'm still not sure he was. Let's suppose he simply did feel an unusual, almost obsessive intimacy with nature, and feel "corrupted, terrified, allured" by his seizures and the glimpse of death he saw in them. I think images with sexual denotations or connotations suit those feelings perfectly. And those two feelings (the first in reference to the powers that stage storms and cage us) are the very center of the poem, deserving striking language. (Also, pre-pubertal sexuality was something Freud emphasized, as I recall. Is there any chance of yet
another parody of Freud here? I admit I don't see it.)

Jansy Mello: A good point, JF, about pre-pubertal sexuality and "powers that stage storms and cage us". And, like you, I don't think there was another Freud parody intented by his rendering of Shade's terrors and allures since, we all know, Freud didn't invent those sufferings...they are there for anyone to feel, see and cope with.
The word "wench", though, S-K-B's "archaism": If it is considered in relation to Marlowe's lines ( also mentioned in a book by Colin Dexter, with this title in a film with Inspector Morse; quoted by P.D.James in one of her Adam Dalgliesh adventures in a Light-House - if I'm not mistaken) "a dead wench in another country" might indicate the "Canadian maid" who tucked in young John Shade every night - and here there might be an allusion to Freud indeed, as in his more famous Wolf Case, among various others concerning nanny practices in Victorian Europe. .

BTW: when I asked if the reference to "artistically caged" suggested a bird-cage, someone mentioned the famous ape drawing the bars of his prison.
Please, check lines: My picture book was at an early age / The painted parchment papering our cage:
In old times bird-cages ( not an ape's) were sometimes papered or sanded.



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