Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0027359, Tue, 18 Apr 2017 07:27:21 -0400

Re: Maurice Vermont & Marion Rumpelmeyer
I want to express my compliments to Matt Roth and my gratitude to the
tedious meetings that led him to these interwoven discoveries.

:) Beth

On Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 9:20 PM, Roth, Matthew <mroth@messiah.edu> wrote:

> Cursed with a succession of tedious faculty meetings, I decided to
> surreptitiously bide my time exploring one of Lolita’s little riddles. HH,
> in Chapter 13, mentions a playlet (The Emperor’s New Clothes) by Maurice
> Vermont and Marion Rumpelmeyer. Appel, in his notes, quotes VN as saying,
> “I vaguely but persistently feel that both Vermont and Rumpelmeyer exist!”
> before Appel idly speculates that VN culled the names from a phonebook. All
> this sounded fishy to me, so down the rabbit hole I went, only to emerge
> hours later with the following odds and ends:
> 1. Rumpelmayer’s (spelling noted) was a well-known chain of European
> tea-houses that catered particularly to Russians, with locations in
> Baden-Baden, Nice, Mentone, Monte Carlo, Paris, London, and elsewhere. It
> would later open a location in NYC (of which more later).
> https://restaurant-ingthroughhistory.com/tag/rumpelmayers/
> 2. In the opening of Virginia Woolf’s *Mrs. Dalloway *(1925), the
> titular character is preparing for a party and we are told that
> “Rumpelmayer’s men were coming” (presumably caterers).
> 3. Edmund Wilson published a story in 1927 called “The Men from
> Rumpelmayer’s”—presumably a reference to the Woolf passage. This was later
> collected in Wilson’s *American Earthquake* (1958) where Nabokov read it
> after Lolita was already published (see VN-Wilson Letters, p. 324).
> 4. The Rumpelmayer’s in New York (which closed in 1998) was located
> in the lobby of the Hotel St. Moritz.
> 5. In her biography, Shelley Winters says she once dined with
> Nabokov (post-Lolita) at this Rumpelmayer’s: “I forget how much money I
> got for this film, but at Rumpelmayer's with Nabokov, during the final
> discussions, I had a tuna-fish sandwich and a chocolate milkshake, my
> standard tranquilizer . . .”
> 6. St. Moritz is a famous resort in the Swiss Alps.
> 7. It is named after St. Maurice, the patron saint of weavers and
> dyers.
> 8. Maurice = Moritz in German
> 9. Vermont = Green Mountain
> Sorting through all of this, my best guess is that VN associated
> Rumpelmayer’s (Rumpelmeyer) with the Hotel St. Moritz (Maurice), a mountain
> resort (thus VerMONT). Furthermore, if he knew that St. Maurice was the
> patron saint of weavers and dyers, this could relate to The Emperor’s New
> Clothes. None of this seems significant in the least, yet I found this
> excavation nonetheless more enriching and interesting than the intricacies
> of our faculty pay scale and the office window covering policy.
> Cheers,
> Matt Roth
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Nabokov and the Question of Morality

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