Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026101, Sat, 4 Apr 2015 02:17:39 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] Anatomical transformations, synesthesia and art,
JM: "Also in Lolita we read how " In and out of my heart flowed my rainbow
blood." (Lolita 1,28) and the link between "rainbow" and "Rimbaud" invites
me to consider V.Nabokov's attempt to render his experiences with
synesthesia in an artistic way (and more ambitiously still).

Jansy Mello: I checked Alfred Appel Jr.'s notes and he mentioned
"Rainbow/Rimbaud" in ch.18. (pg.371, 75/6) and in other chapters (cf. notes
163/6, 172/1, 250/7, and 278/1). He doesn't link HH's "rainbow blood" to the
French poet, nor does he mention his synesthesia, focusing on other
"Rimbaud's echoes," and valuing hints related to poems and his relationship
with Verlaine. As he also notes, Humbert Humbert has written a book on

So, the present linkage of "blood" and "synesthesia" is not guaranteed by A.
Appel. Nevertheless, for me, these lines serve to throw light on VN's effort
to deal artistically with his private altered vision of his surroundings -
such as we find them in S&S and in John Shade's fits and heart problems -
should they not be limited to his experiences with color synesthesia.*

* Like "standing a metaphor on its head not for the sake of the trick's
difficulty, but in order to perceive an ascending waterfall or a sunrise in
reverse: a triumph, in a sense, over the ardis of time." (Ada 1,30)

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