NABOKV-L post 0017354, Thu, 20 Nov 2008 00:22:29 -0500

Re: foot-noted afterthoughts about Borges et al.
>"South" is a story by Borges that somewhat resembles Nabokov's Lik (1939)

That is an interesting observation. Indeed in both stories the authors drive
neurotic protagonist through accidents of life to inevitable conclusion much
differing from grandiose vision he intends to relive/re-die (:-)). In Borges
story (1938) library's secretary Juan Dalman dreams of life in the South to
relive romantic vision of his heroic ancestor but instead fulfills that
ancestor's death from Indian's spear in his own - from drunkard's dagger.
Inversely, Lik envisions grandiose death on stage but has his destiny sealed
in mediocre life by shiny new white shoes. In VN's story there is more
contrast, more light, which sharpen the vision in reader. White shoes on
that Thursday evening are more final then the dagger of gaucho and we still
don't know time of the day when Dalman stepped out into the valley. But
Dalman is derived from 'dale' - valley. To Borges, who had blood infection
in 1938, resulting in eventual loss of sight, - words were the light.

- George Shimanovich

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