NABOKV-L post 0018370, Wed, 3 Jun 2009 18:36:46 -0300

Subject
novelist Vladimir Nabokov ...
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Date
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S.Klein sends Review of Wednesday is Indigo Blue: Discovering the brain of synaesthesia by Richard E. Cytowic and David M. Eagleman
29 May 2009 by Liz Else - Complete article at the following URL: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227101.600-review-wednesday-is-indigo-blue.html?full=true#bx271016B1
Among examples of synaesthesia, there is a quote from Vladimir Nabokov in Speak, Memory: "... As for the intensity of an orgasm, it may give birth not only to geometric aberrations in the mind, but... to a seemingly unending tunnel of pleasure through which one races in a crescendo of sensation toward the ultimate release."

I could not help but to compare this description to Pale Fire's famous misprint (Mountain-Fountain): "A system of cells interlinked within/ Cells interlinked within cells interlinked/ Within one stem. And dreadfully distinct/ Against the dark, a tall white fountain played./ "
Or, as in "ADA", where Van speaks about the body in relation to time and space, using his various "senses" in synaesthesia*, with its corpuscles, and cells, and throbbing veins...


PS: A tangential reference to Pale Fire:
John Shade's title for his poem, as he suggests, is inspired by "Will" and the reader gets hints from Kinbote about the moon and "arrant thievery."
Nevertheless, Shade not only mentions "moondrops" (and a resource to magic) but he also describes his poem as a "transparent thingum,"** thereby hinting at something less solid than the moon itself...at its ghostly reflection perhaps?
Checking on the almost universal derivation of a "non-descript thing" into "thingum," I came across E.Allan Poe's story ( actually, Mr. Thingum's autobiography): "LITERARY LIFE OF THINGUM BOB, ESQ.- Late Editor of the "Goosetherumfoodle". Although, most probably, this thingum isn't actually refered in "Pale Fire" ( its spirit is quite distinct), it shares a number of items with VN's novel: a delusional poet and editor reporting his story, a "botfly" ("gad-fly"), the barbering process and Poe, himself. As a curiosity, perhaps, it deserves a mention in our List.
Excerpts:
"I AM now growing in years, and-since I understand that Shakespeare and Mr. Emmons are deceased-it is not impossible that I may even die. It has occurred to me, therefore, that I may as well retire from the field of Letters and repose upon my laurels."
..............................
"My first moment of positive inspiration must be dated from that ever-memorable epoch, when the brilliant conductor of the "Gad-Fly," in the intervals of the important process just mentioned, recited aloud, before a conclave of our apprentices, an inimitable poem in honor of the "Only Genuine Oil-of-Bob" (so called from its talented inventor, my father), and for which effusion the editor of the "Fly" was remunerated with a regal liberality by the firm of Thomas Bob & Company, merchant-barbers"
Edgar Allan Poe,1850

......................................................................................................................
* 'Space is a swarming in the eyes, and Time a singing in the ears,' says John Shade, a modem poet, as quoted by an invented philosopher ('Martin Gardiner') ..."
** - (But this transparent thingum does require/ Some moondrop title. Help me, Will! Pale Fire.)

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