NABOKV-L post 0018751, Sun, 8 Nov 2009 21:25:01 -0200

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Fw: [NABOKOV-L] Harlequin as Quilty?
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Quilty, in name and few traits, resembles the inhuman prankster Harlequin, in his colorful chequered clothes and masks, who steals tearful Pierrot's beloved in the Commedia dell'Arte. Humbert once mentions a "'Bertoldo' character in low Italian comedy" (AL II, ch16, 213) and, later, he affirms that Quilty "had planted insulting pseudonyms...at Ponderosa Lodge, his entry, among a dozen obviously human ones, read: Dr. Gratiano Forbeson, Mirandola, NY. Its Italian Comedy connotations could not fail to strike me, of course."
Quilty/Trapp "succeeded in thoroughly enmeshing me and my thrashing anguish in his demoniacal game...We all admire the spangled acrobat with classical grace meticulously walking his tight rope in the talcum light...He mimed and mocked me"( AL, ch.23 part II, 248-49.)

Alfred Appel, in his note, ackowledges Nabokov's references to the Commedia dell'Arte ( but he informs that Mirandola has nothing to do with the Italian humanist, nor with Goldoni's Mirandolina.) He doesn't mention that Quilty might, at any time, represent the Harlequin. If it were not a ruse to add another element to Quilty (the harlequinade and Pierrot) , what is the point of citing the "Italian low commedy"?

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