Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0027534, Sat, 23 Sep 2017 16:13:41 -0700

Dr. Sutton and Judge Goldsworth = Wise Old Men
Dr. Sutton & Mrs. Starr:

Jung termed the archetype of wisdom in the unconscious the “Senex” or “Wise Old Man”. He functions as a wise guide, philosopher, mentor or teacher. He is typically represented as a kind old father-figure, acting as mentor to the Individuating Self. He is often portrayed as a Wizard (alchemist). In alchemy he is likened to Mercurius Senex, or Hermes Trismegistus.

“…Mercurius was also depicted as the grey-bearded Mercurius senex, or Hermes Trismegistus, from which it is evident that two empirically very common archetypes, namely the anima and the Wise Old Man, flow together in the symbolic phenomenology of Mercurius. Both are daemons of revelation and, in the form of Mercurius, represent the panacea.” (Jung, Alchemical Studies, CW Vol.13)

We have seen that John Shade has attributes of higher aspects of Man, but that he is also duplicitous and actually is more like the “Persona” than the “Wise Old Man”. There are, however, two other characters that more perfectly fit that archetype: Dr. Sutton and Judge Goldsworth.

The Senex is often paired with the positive anima; The anima becomes a guide once her negative aspects are dealt with and incorporated into the "Self".

“If an individual has wrestled seriously enough and long enough with the anima (or animus) problem...the unconscious again changes its dominant character and appears in a new symbolic form...as a masculine initiator and guardian (an Indian guru), a wise old man, a spirit of nature, and so forth.” (Jung, Man and his Symbols. London: Picador. pp. 207–208

Dr. Sutton is a wise and benificent old man. His windows reflect the light of the “Source” (Sun) – another allusion to “pale fire”. He has a daughter, Sybil’s clubmate, Mrs. Starr. Why is she a “Starr”? ”. Jung quotes the alchemist Paracelsus regarding the emblem of the “Star”:

“For Paracelsus the Primordial Man was identical with the ‘astral’ man: ‘The true man is the star in us…The star desires to drive man towards great wisdom’.” (Jung, Vol.13, CW, P.131)

“In Paracelsus the lumen naturae comes primarily from the ‘astrum’ or ‘sydus’, the ‘star in man. The ‘firmament’ (a synonym for the star) is the natural light. Hence the ‘corner-stone’ of all truth is ‘Astronomia’, which is a ‘mother to all the other arts…For ‘the star ‘desireth to drive man toward great wisdom…that he may appear wondrous in the light of nature, and the mysteria of God’s wondrous work be discovered and revealed in their grandeur’” (Jung, The structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, Vol.8 Collected works, P. 193)

Ljiljan Cuk has associated Dr. Sutton with two galaxies in the Great Bear constellation, “M81” and “M82” (the age of Dr. Sutton). (https://drsuttonsite.wordpress.com/dr-sutton-who-or-what/)

Thus, the sidereal Dr. Sutton and his daughter are allied and aligned with “Wisdom” and “Soul”. Jung said that the Wise Old Man was often seen along with a young girl (anima). Both are guides to the unconscious. Jung had a dream of this odd couple, who he gave the names “Elijah” (later to become “Philemon”) and “Salome”

“…one frequently encounters an old man who is accompanied by a young girl…Salome is an anima figure…Elijah is the figure of the wise old prophet and represents the factor of intelligence and knowledge; Salome, the erotic element. One might say that the two figures are personifications of Logos and Eros.” (Jung, Vol.8 CW, On the Nature of the Psyche)

Although Mrs. Starr is likely not much younger than Sybil, the imagery still fits. The symbol of the Star also has to do with the idea of “destiny”. There are astrological and Tarot implications. What does this say about Sybil’s club? Is it a “brocken of wives”? What do they read? Sybil created a “herme” out of her books. Perhaps they read the “Kybalion”, a 19th Century metaphysical work based on the precepts of Hermes Trismegistis’ “Emerald Tablet”. “Kybele” is an alternate spelling of “Cybele”, the angry mother goddess of the Atalanta myth who turns the lovers Atalanta and Hippomenes into red lions - the “coniunctio” phase of alchemy.

Judge Goldsworth:

As Kinbote describes his rented “chateau”, we see that the Goldsworths are fond of order, alphabetically and otherwise, with notes all around, and the arranging of furniture by the path of the sun. This is more than just amusing; there are no throw away lines in this novel. Why is this judge, this absent character, worth, or worthy of, gold? Why is he so meticulous? Why does he care about the path of the sun? Goldsworth’s gorgon snake hair suggests an association with Medusa. He also seems to appear hermaphroditic, as does John Shade. There is a Apollonian/Chthonic duality in Judge Goldsworth.

Turning base metals into gold was the quest of alchemy. The metals used were mostly the “base” metals, mercury or lead. “Saturn” was the name given to lead.

“Lead being the equivalent of Saturn, having a definite androgynous nature, is both malefic, and the worst events can be expected, and a purifier” (https://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/~alchemy/lead.html)

The qualities attributed to Saturn are, above all Justice and karma. Alchemy is correlated to astrology and the Tarot. From wikipedia:

Astrologically speaking, Saturn is associated with focus, precision, nobility, ethics, civility, lofty goals, purpose, career, great achievements, dedication, authority figures, ordered hierarchy, stability, virtues, productiveness, valuable hard lessons learned, destiny, conforming social structures, balance, and karma (reaping what you have sowed or divine cosmic justice) but also with limitations, restrictions, boundaries, anxiety, tests, practicality, reality, and time. It concerns a person's sense of duty, discipline, responsibility, including their physical and emotional endurance during hardships. Saturn is also considered to represent the part of a person concerned with long-term planning or foresight. The Return of Saturn is said to mark significant events in each person's life.

These attributes would seem to fit the worthy Judge, who, as it happens, has been away and is soon to return.

John Shade is about to turn 61 and is thus undergoing his “Saturn Return”, considered a major astrological event that occurs about every 30 years when Saturn returns to its place in the natal chart. It has life transforming implications. How one navigates this transition is said to determine the course of the next 30 years. It is therefore associated with a time of questioning and re-evaluation of one’s life and with karma.

In the Tarot, the Justice card is ruled by the planets Saturn and Venus, so we see here the association of the Senex and Anima. We can see that tripply in Judge Goldsworth and his nymphet daughters.

Carl Jung had a keen interest in astrology. He conducted a “scientific” study of the natal charts of married couples to see if there were any significant patterns. His test group was small and the results inconclusive, but what is important here is, not just demonstrating his interest in astrology is reflected in Pale Fire, but that his particular focus was married couples.

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