NABOKV-L post 0020932, Mon, 1 Nov 2010 13:35:23 -0200

Re: ginkgo biloba
Alexey Sklyarenko:In his Commentary (note to line 49) Kinbote quotes a quatrain from Shade's poem "The Sacred Tree": Here is Goethe's poem "Ginkgo Biloba" from "The West-Eastern Divan":...Gibt geheimen Sinn zu kosten,/Wie's den Wissenden erbaut.//Ist es ein lebendig Wesen,/Das sich in sich selbst getrennt?Sind es zwei, die sich erlesen,/Da? man sie als eines kennt?.../Fuhlst du nicht an meinen Liedern,/Da? ich eins und doppelt bin?

JM: Great find and link, Alexey. Kinbote does indeed appear to allude to Goethe's poem on the Gingko tree, its "secret meaning" and to a splitting of the ego. It's interesting that Goethe's lines open a choice: is there only one person who, by undergoing a splitting, also operates as his double? Are there actually two different people who choose to be seen as one?

btw: I checked various images of the gingko leaves. Some, but not all of them, are shaped a bit like the butterfly Shade describes, with a slight parting in the middle. as indicated by Goethe.

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