NABOKV-L post 0019477, Mon, 22 Feb 2010 02:00:12 -0300

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Re: QUERY: Red Wop Explained
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Frances Assa [to JM: Once in a while I've the feeling that Kinbote bears traits inspired in how Nabokov sees critic E.Wilson."] I've been thinking along those lines as well. Kinbote is certainly filling a role that Wilson has, when, for example Fitzgerald died leaving "The Last Tycoon" unfinished, which Wilson completed. It's hard to think of other similarities.
RSGwynn [to JM her calling John Shade "a didactic kaytid" could reflect the way she saw her father.] Hazel is calling Sybil a "didactic katydid," not JS.

JM: Thank you, RS Gwynn, for the correction that it's Sybil, not John Shade, who's been indicated as a "didactic katydid."
I'm also grateful to Frances Assa because, in her posting, she brought up my initial suggestion concerning Kinbote/Wilson, in its first, very tentative, rendering. Her contribution with a link to Fitzgerald's unfinished work completed by Wilson is an excellent point.
Great part of the scholarship related to this matter is outside my scope of learning, as it must be obvious by now...

In the heat of my argumentation I equally lost a more flexible stand about what is, after all, only a "feeling." Even the lines in which Nabokov attributes the term "red wop," to Wilson, still need to be researched more thoroughly, with a return to their correspondence to follow up their exchanges about this particular word, to check chronologies, to evaluate the effects, on VN, of Wilson's amphisbaenic technique* and his short observation (p.244) that Nabokov had not yet "grasped" it.

I just discovered (or had read it before, but without registering it) that Wilson's inspiration for "amphisbaenic" might have derived from Alexander Pope's Dunciad: ( a new problem now for the Kinbote/Wilson hunch!)
The lines in question are: "Thus Amphisbaena (I have read)
At either end assails;
None knows which leads, or which is led,
For both Heads are but Tails."

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* In this example, recently mentioned in a posting, we find one of the Wilson reversions which Nabokov uses in the lines he addressed to him (step/pets). Who has access to Wilson's other creations might check in them for a "red wop/powder" instance (if there is one such).
But tonight I come lone and belated--
Foreseeing in every detail,
And resolved for a day to sidestep
My friends and their guests and their pets.



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