I have just recently been aware of a slight resemblance between "A busy man" and Transparent things. Over a 40 years span, Nabokov's themes and obsessions seem to remain: Grafitski muses on a dream about falling out of a window been confused by fire or something coming through it. Hugh Person is haunted by fire, windows and heights till he finally dies (at an age not far from Grafitski own 34 years). Of course death and the meaning of time are paramount topics in VN work but I find this coincidence striking (and of course there is a Pushkin atmosphere all around).
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I am driving myself mad trying to locate the source of a quotation I remember attributed to Nabokov in a New York Review of Books piece I read in the 1970s. I remember the quote as “the bowels…those buffoons in the morality play of our existence.” Is that correct, and if so, where/when did Nabokov say/write it? Any help or thoughts would be much appreciated.
Nabokov's tip of the hat towards Irving is found as being one of the first names in Lolita's class list: Flashman, Irving (Part I, Ch. 11). More telling though is what Vladimir would take as a last name should he ever return to Mother Russia under a false passport.
It occurs to me that “Onhava” is a near-anagram, or one word-golf move, of “Avalon”, the mystical Isle of Arthurian legend.
Avalon was the home of Merlin and Morgan La Fay – a misty land of enchantment.
I am not terribly familiar with the Arthurian lore, but the sword in the stone and the grail legend fit the “Hero’s Journey” quest that is suggested in Pale Fire. There seem to be other parallels, e.g. Hazel and “The Lady of the Lake”.