Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020315, Tue, 13 Jul 2010 15:02:42 EDT

Re: [NABOKOV-L] Pompons and pumpkins
Perhaps start with Nabokov's fine short protest against "Rowe's Symbols" in
Strong Opinions. He was a master of metaphor, of simile, and of symbolism
in the authentic sense he expounds in "Rowe's Symbols" and in his Lectures
on Literature. What he detested was the prefabricated symbol as reductive,
deadening cliche, where A "really means", or "stands for" B, which "lies
behind" A. Nabokov's "symbolism" is true to the original meaning of

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In a message dated 13/07/2010 17:18:58 GMT Daylight Time, jansy@AETERN.US

Some time in April I started a message which was interrupted and misplaced
in my archives. It was related to a review sent to the Nab-List by someone
named Farmer (which I couldn't locate), dated from April 13,2010.

I selected the following from it:
Farmer notes that " 'Lolita' is the spiritual ideal of The Nymphet;
Dolores Haze is a temporary manifestation. To love the spiritual ideal through
Dolores's bodily reality, Humbert must discard Dolores as a real individual."
I tried to compare Farmer's comment with another, from ADA, using
Nabokov's words: "the lewd, ludicrous and vulgar mistake of the Signy-Mondieu
analysts consists in their regarding a real object, a pompon, say, or a pumpkin
as a significant abstraction of the real object," but I got nowhere.

Farmer's comment seems clear enough to me: the girl Dolores was an icon
through which Humbert could access the "spiritual ideal of the nymphet." A
living fetish.
Nabokov's, on the contrary, remains puzzling, also because VN often
returned to these two "real objects" (pompom, pumpkin) in various novels, in a
figurative sense (particularly in KQKn) like the red and white camelias in
the movie (perhaps also in Dumas' novel).
Could anyone help me to figure out what Nabokov intended as a criticism of
"Signy-Mondieu" (Freud, I presume)?

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