NABOKV-L post 0017503, Sat, 20 Dec 2008 13:37:19 -0200

Subject
QUERY: Bend Sinister poem?
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Date
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MR: The passage [ Timon: As the moon does, by wanting light to give; /But then renew I could not, like the moon; /There were no suns to borrow of],
it seems to me, nicely illuminates Kinbote's situation. Gerard De Vries has argued that Shade is associated with the sun (Kinbote says his mother's name comes from Luke, light-giver) and Kinbote the moon.
JM: There must be other suns, like the one that 'illuminates Kinbote' here.
"Light-giver" has to be distinguished from "light-bearer"( Lucipher). It seems to me that (excepting the bonafide "Luke"), sometimes VN plays with this Byronian variation bt.good and evil. A very informative book on 'Fallen Angels" is Harold Bloom's 2008 little book.

Tim Henderson:... if anyone was curious, my aim was to put together the Nabokvian with another take on that Timon passage [...]: 'The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves/ The moon into salt tears: the earth's a thief,/ That feeds and breeds by a composture stolen/ From general excrement: each thing's a thief' [...] I'm talking about Stanza VII of Wallace Stevens' The Man with the Blue Guitar':[...]I stand in the moon, and call it good,/The immaculate, the merciful good,/Detached from us, from things as they are?/Not to be part of the sun? To stand/ Remote and call it merciful?/ The strings are cold on the blue guitar.

JM: Sophisticated Stevens. He breaks the cycle of creation-destruction, to assert individual subjectivity: his position is unlike WS's from whose perspective the sea can only dissolve the image of the moon, not the moon itself. Thanks for sharing with us this vision of mankind as maggots infesting planet Earth.

J.Friedman: [..] as Nims says in reply to VN, it's a change of weasels to minks (is that an example of poshlost?) in a poem by Antonio Machado. The weasels' connotations may have been wrong, but the minks' are worse.
JM: I wikied Machado to try to read the word "weasel" (altered into "mink") in the original Spanish. Found that his story bears some traces of similarity with Poe's (marrying the very young daughter from a landlord): Antonio Cipriano José María y Francisco de Santa Ana Machado y Ruiz, known as Antonio Machado (July 26, 1875 - February 22, 1939) was a Spanish poet [...]In the same year Machado was offered the job of Professor of French at the school in Soria. Here he met Leonor Izquierdo, daughter of the owners of the boarding house Machado was staying in. They were married in 1909: he was 34; Leonor was 15.
His more familiar lines: "Caminante no hay camino/sino estelas en la mar" translates us back to the Timon lines and Henderson's query (there is a translator Henderson mentioned by Nims http://books.google.com/books?id=SOIxSpnAOzAC&pg=PA16 ).) ie: "Walker there is no "ready path" (a walk)/ only stars in the sea" ....Poets don't offer an animal's name keeping in mind its scientific label: how can we know that Machado's englished weasel is not a ferret or a marten, that it is unrelated to "gossiping" or to "weasel-wording"? In a poem one must take care with polisemic branchings ( like the one with cuckoo/dove)...
Here is a fun association that carried me from weasel into Wiesel in German Christian Morgenstern's lines about the "aesthetic weasel" who sat upon a pebble (Kiesel) just for the sake of rhyme...*









....................................................................................................................................................................................................................


* Ein Wiesel
saß auf einem Kiesel
inmitten Bachgeriesel.

Wißt ihr
weshalb?

Das Mondkalb
verriet es mir
im Stillen:

Das raffinier-
te Tier
tat's um des Reimes willen.

Christian Morgenstern





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