are outstanding books on the origins of fairy-tales, Bruno
Bettelheim's or Marina Warner "The Blonde and the Beast", for example. And
yet, perhaps Nabokov's interest in "Cinderella" was uninformed
about these purported links bt "Aschenbrödel" and incest theories.
Why would the incest theme#, in Nabokov,
necessarily demand this kind of "psychological" background information
( which he was clearly aware of, anyway) and its material lack be
something strong enough to spoil Maar's the breadth in his
I was happy when I read Carolyn Kunin's
reference to "Speak, Nabokov" because, in her commentary, she stressed
Maar's non-idolatrous vertex and the scope of his literary
inter/intra-connections, favouring exciting inroads into VN's works.
Maar's theory about a nabokovian "cryptomnesia,"
influencing his writing of "Lolita," had predisposed me against him.For me,
"Lolita", as Nabokov's other novels is, too, a novel sustained by style,
not by "real life" plots*
Inspite of present-day speedy exchanges
of information, my mental processes keep lagging behind, with outdated
Only now can I make a comment about a review of
TOoL, in Dutch, by Hafid Bouazza, praising VN's
novel's posthumous edition (a praise with which I had not been
in full syntony.) A.Bouazza has translated his brother's text for the
Nab-L readers (Nov.21,2009) and one of the sentences in Hafid/A.Bouazza's
rendering kept rebounding in my mind. It was strangely familiar
and descriptive of Nabokov's verbal conjuring and enchantment.
Yesterday I discovered why ( style! always
style!). In Hafid/AB's rendering: "Martin Amis would say that
the enchantment was gone: the blue wave that on every page of his previous books
swells under the heart and breaks in the mind in an iridescent splash swelled
but sporadically.". These lines are also magically resonant
with Humbert Humbert's own enchantment, after he saw Lolita for the first
time: "a blue sea-wave swelled under my heart and, from
a mat in a pool of sun, half-naked, kneeling, turning about on her knees, there
was my Riviera love peering at me over dark glasses." I learned next that Hafid Bouazza
has deliberately quoted HH to extend, in a particularly poetic way (not
lost in translation), Amis's words, for his own comments about TOoL.
As I see it ( and feel) this
contrafacta** was most forcefully and succesfully explored
and Nabokov was born all over again in a cool lawn in New England. No
"phlogiston" but an internal combustian that gives rise to the
I wonder now if decrepit "Laura" will have a
chance of "rebirth" by a similar process of 'magic discovery.'
*- Something in line with Flaubert's project to
write "le livre sur rien," sustained by style alone. In "L'Éducation
Sentimentale," for example, he will write: "l'existence lui fournit
l'accidentel, il le rend l'immuable; ce que la vie lui offre, il le donne ŕ
** Contrafacta as employed in music ( for
example, Bach's autoplagiarism, and his sacred music inspired by profane,
popular music, themes).
# -The two most famous works in
world literature are, of course, Sophocles's Oedipus Rex and Shakespeare's
Hamlet ( "fact" and "unconscious wishes") and, the first, also deals with
"adoption", "filicide", "homosexuality (pederasty)" and "pedophilia". From
the anthropologic angle, Levi Strauss' "symbolic machine" ( in "Structural
Anthropology") deals with the relation bt. Sophocles, incest and exogamy, with
interesting observations about "what's in a name" (Labdacos, Laius, Oedipus,
their maimed "feet" (as in "Cinderella" btw) and "chtonic" (Eliot/ John