NABOKV-L post 0017485, Wed, 17 Dec 2008 08:25:37 -0500

QUERY: Swinburne, Dolores, Mazeppa
Jerry Friedman writes:

It's impossible for me, and I suspect was for VN, to see
a mention of Swinburne's "Dolores" without thinking
about sadism and masochism, the subject of the poem and
one of Swinburne's interests. (I've read contradictory
things on how far it was one of his practices. No doubt
a good biography would settle this--or maybe two good
biographies.) I don't see how Oursler or the reviewer
who quotes him could have missed it either.

I can't see the surname "Quine" without thinking about
the Harvard philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine, who
wrote about topics that might have interested Nabokov,
such as translation and "word and object". But I
know little about Quine, and can't tell you whether
Nabokov would have known him or known of his ideas
when he wrote /Lolita/.

By the way, Quine was talented at languages, and according
to <>,
he spent part of World War II in Brazil lecturing on
logic in Portuguese.

Another Quine is Richard Quine, an American actor and
director who had directed a number of films by the time
/Lolita/ was written. In the inevitable VN coincidence,
his last directing credit was /The Prisoner of Zenda/
(1979), starring "Peter Sellers & Peter Sellers".

I'm afraid I may have only provided more red herrings.

On another subject, what I find strange about Nabokov's
comparison of Ultima Thule and Zembla is how little Zemblan
natural history there is in /Pale Fire/. Except for the
capercaillie and woodcock shooting and the low altitude
of timberline, it could be pretty much anywhere in
the north temperate zone. Nabokov must have been
telling us those bogs and butterflies were in his

Jerry Friedman

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