Carolyn Kunin writes:
There is a book (The Triump of Pierrot; the Commedia dell'Arte and the Modern Imagination by Martin Green and John Swan*) that addresses the importance of the Commedia in 20th century art, music, dance and literature. Seven pages are devoted to discussing Nabokov's use of this theme throughout his work, and includes some interesting information about VN & "Dangleleaf."
On the novel in question the authors write:
In Lolita we have a remarkable version of Columbine in the girl herself and in Humbert Humbert we have an equally re-
markable combination or alternation of Pierrot and Harlequin. (We also have a showier, more expressionist pairing of
Humbert and Quilty as Pierrot and Harlequin.)
Very interesting book.
[EDNOTE. I have also written on this subject in an essay: Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, “Looking at Harlequins: Nabokov, the World of Art, and the Ballets Russes.” Nabokov’s World. Ed. Jane Grayson, Arnold McMillin, and Priscilla Meyer. 2 vols. London: Palgrave, 2002. Volume 2 (Reading Nabokov): 73-95. -- SES]