NABOKV-L post 0017159, Mon, 6 Oct 2008 21:19:27 -0300

THOUGHTS: Terra and Antiterra and ADA
[ C.M.Carnot:I have found that the Terra/Antiterra doubling works similar to the unreliable narrator which is used throughout VN's work[...]My contention is that Terra is in fact Earth (gasp!) but the method by which Van and others access information about Terra is a greatly flawed science. Back on Earth we are accessing a document that reports information from Antiterra. The final document (Ada) is just as flawed through a similar method of access and, as it were, translation..
J. Aisenberg : I like the idea that the book is a kind of flawed scientific report on the real world or Terra viewed through a flawed perspective[...] I had always taken the book to be an extended folie a deux, a willful delusion [...] There is, I think Nabokov suggests, a real and terrible world which thwarts and cuts down Van. So Van erects a fantasy that skews the "real" place. Yet still that fantasy world becomes skewed by whatever "actual" circumstances spawned him [...] then at the end he pole vaults over his problems and lives happily ever after. Material "reality" has lost, died, faded away, and now, in the long run, all that remains is the fantasy left behind. In the end strangely, the made up world turns out to be more durable than reality[...].
JM:Incongruity is spacio-temporal... "two chess games with identical openings and identical end moves might ramify in an infinite number of variations, on one board and in two brains, at any middle stage of their irrevocably converging development" (A,18)[...] two chess games, or characters, represent a single one, now doubled because it is apprehended by the two different brains that are exercising themselves on only one board. Reader and book. Past and present...]

Chase Carnot: Instead of two chess games or two different brains overlooking the same game. It could also be that the "spacio-temporal" split of Terra/Antiterra could simply be simply a split in consciousness, Van's. He could well be the psychotherapist drawn into madness by the "texture of time" that is so palpable for his patients.

JM: I can agree with you about Van and "a split in consciousness" ( but why not also include the readers in "Ada"? VN once wrote something like "the reader is my favourite fiction"...).
I remember arguments about the entire novel having been written solely by Van, Ada's comments being an "invention" of his ( his feminine counterpart butting in). Nevertheless I often found Ada's marginal contributions too Adaish and matter-of-fact to accept this hypothesis whole-heartedly.
(Like Van's "memoirs", I must now rely only on what I still remember about the book... and I'm well aware how unreliable Mnemosyne can be and how dangerous it is to argue out of context.)
JA observed that "the made up world turns out to be more durable than reality". Since, for me, "reality" is also made-up, although it was built by a consensus ( or, as a colleague of Van's once stated,"reality is a shared delusion") what seems to have been "lost, died, faded away" in "Ada" is...a consensus about "Ada"?

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