NABOKV-L post 0026174, Thu, 14 May 2015 22:26:37 -0300

coincidences: on line quotes from Despair and The Gift: correction

De: Jansy Mello []
Enviada em: quinta-feira, 14 de maio de 2015 20:47
Para: 'Vladimir Nabokov Forum'
Assunto: [NABOKV-L] coincidences: on line quotes from Despair and The Gift

JM: While sorting out my small treasures from "The Gift" I remembered a
scene which I was unable to find as it was not underlined in my old copy [
] "Pattern of Elysian hues! Once in Ordos my father, climbing a hill after a
storm, inadvertently entered the base of a rainbow - the rarest occurrence!
- and found himself in colored air, in a play of light as if in paradise. He
took one more step - and left paradise." [ ]Unfortunately there were no
further references to locate it in the printed novel and a curious
illustration was appended to the quote, since it offered a rainbow in which
the blue was lying close to the red. [Cf.
/] This mixture of colors led me to a description in "Despair": "I left the
road and began to climb again, this time up a thinly turfed slope. Dreary
and barren country. The rattle of a truck came from the road, then a cart
passed in the opposite direction, then a cyclist, then, a vilely painted
rainbow-wise, the motor van of a firm of varnishers. In those rascal's
spectrum the green band adjoined the red."
A.Bouazza: The quote from The Gift is in the third paragraph of Chapter

Jansy Mello: Thank you for the reference, AB. I realized that I hadn't
underlined this particular sentence because I chose to pencil a soft circle
around the entire page, for VN had carefully built up the scene, starting

"The rain still fell lightly, but with the elusive suddenness of an angel, a
rainbow had already appeared [ ] it hung suspended over the reaped field [
]. Stray arrows of rain that had lost both rhythm and weight and the ability
to make any sound, flashed at random, this way and that, in the sun [ ]
The rainbow was already fading."

You helped me to recover it. And I also got to another mark that echoes the
clumsily painted rainbow on the van from Despair, a second unexpected
connection. It is to be found in Chapter One from The Gift (p.34):

"While he had been musing over his poems, rain had lacquered the street from
end to end. The van had gone and in the spot where its tractor had recently
stood, there remained next to the sidewalk a rainbow of oil,with the purple
predominant and a plumelike twist. Asphalt's parakeet. And what had been the
name of the moving company? Max Lux. Mac's luck."

It must have been the same moving van that appears in the very first
paragraph of The Gift (p.11): "One cloudy but luminous day.a moving van very
long and very yellow, hitched to a tractor [ ] a dishonest attempt to climb
into the next dimension ." In the next paragraph Fyodor states: "Some day,
he thought, I must use such a scene to start a good thick old-fashioned

Btw: Despair begins in an almost similar (metafictional) way as The Gift: "
If I were not perfectly sure of my power to write and of my marvelous
ability to express ideas with the utmost grace and vividness . So, more or
less, I had thought of beginning my tale."


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