Just two small corrections. The quoted stanza from Don Juan is number XLII (42), and the name should be Dudý, a “u” with an accent grave.

 

A. Bouazza

 

From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] On Behalf Of Alexey Sklyarenko
Sent: zaterdag 9 februari 2013 11:05
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
Subject: [NABOKV-L] dream murders in Shakespeare, Byron & Nabokov

 

For a moment he wondered what his wife was doing there, prone on the floor, her fair hair spread as if she were flying. Then he stared at his bashful claws. (Transparent Things, chapter 20)

 

Hugh Person strangles his wife Armande in his sleep, as he dreams of Julia Moore (Hugh's former mistress whom in his dream he struggles to save from falling to her death).

 

The name Julia Moore hints at Romeo and Juliet. Othello strangles Desdemona in her bed. And it is Macbeth who looks at his hands after he murdered the sleeping Duncan:

 

MACBETH

(looking at his hands) This is a sorry sight.

LADY MACBETH 
A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.

MACBETH

There's one did laugh in's sleep, and one cried "Murder!"

That they did wake each other: I stood and heard them:

But they did say their prayers, and address'd them

Again to sleep. (Macbeth, Act Two, scene 2)

 

A character in Byron's Don Juan (Canto Six, LXII), Dudji is a kind of sleepy Venus who can "murder sleep" (an allusion to the above scene in Macbeth) in others:

 

A kind of sleepy Venus seem'd Dudji,
Yet very fit to "murder sleep" in those
Who gazed upon her cheek's transcendent hue,
Her Attic forehead, and her Phidian nose:
Few angles were there in her form, 't is true,
Thinner she might have been, and yet scarce lose;
Yet, after all, 't would puzzle to say where
It would not spoil some separate charm to pare.

 

In Canto Six Juan is placed in an apartment of the palace where many of the sultan's concubines are quartered, for it is assumed that he is a new member of the sultan's large harem. He is assigned to a pretty girl named Dudji as a companion. During the night the whole harem is awakened by a loud scream from Dudji. She is pressed for an explanation. She has dreamed, she says, that she was walking in a wood in which there was a tree with a golden apple.* The golden apple fell at her feet, but when she picked it up to bite into it, a bee flew out and stung her.

 

Lord Byron and apple trees are mentioned in TT:

 

Armande Chamar. La particule aurait jure avec la derniere syllabe de mon prenom. I believe Byron uses 'chamar,' meaning 'peacock fan,' in a very noble Oriental milieu. (Chapter 9)

 

"Diablonnet always reminds me of the Russian for 'apple trees': yabloni." (chapter 12)

 

*When Hugh first meets Armande, she reads a paperback edition of Figures in a Golden Window (chapter 9).

 

Alexey Sklyarenko

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