NABOKV-L post 0020982, Wed, 17 Nov 2010 15:15:34 -0500

THOUGHTS: Beau & Butterfly
In PF, Ada, and LATH, VN mentions the New York magazine The Beau and the Butterfly, a reference to the cover art of The New Yorker. This is well-known. But until recently I assumed that VN had made up the title himself. I now see that he may have been referencing a fable, a version of which you can see here ( ).

The poem explores the tensions between nature and art, the given and the made, vanity and wisdom. If VN knew it, he might have detected, in the mirror, a glimpse of T. S. Eliot in the line "In toilet-arts consumes the day."

Matt Roth

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