NABOKV-L post 0017394, Wed, 26 Nov 2008 20:29:40 EST

Re: VN on allegory?
Thanks to all who have responded. I shall use "allegory" advisedly when
referring to VN. VN is a late-born symboliste who dislikes "symbol" as a literary
term, with many good reasons, most of them based on the Freudian criticism
that obtained during most of his writing career. I suspect that he is having his
way with anyone who would interpret any mention of, say, "brookstick" or
"drain hole" as ready-made symbols--should "word golf," for example, be
interpreted as a way of penetrating the maternal (sinking it!) by killing off the
paternal (par!)? I think not. Really, I think not. The details in his own works
gain that status (symbolic?) by the way that certain images are repeated and
dwelt upon. If they are repeated, they must have symbolic value, unless they are
not merely perverse red herrings. I do not think he dealt in red herrings.
I do not think he dealt in herrings of any color.

Perhaps "metaphoric" is a term that is better than "allegoric" in dealing
with how VN uses his life in his work. "Allegoric" is a prose term; "metaphoric"
is a poetic one. We are, after all, dealing with a poet here.

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