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
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