NABOKV-L post 0017884, Tue, 10 Mar 2009 22:21:08 -0300

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Re: THOUGHTS: More bits of S in K, and vice-versa
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S.Soloviev: ...even if the subject of split personality has no Freudian overtones in psychoanalysis as such, the question is, did it have in 50 and 60-es in the USA when VN was writing Pale Fire? [...] I speak of historical reconstruction, not about your "objective" view as a psychoanalyst.

EDNote: VN would have gotten his earliest major exposure to the "split personality" concept from William James' retelling of the work of Pierre Janet [...]My own research on this subject has not revealed major connections between Freudian theory and multiple personalities in the 1950s--either independently, or in Nabokov's notes on the subject. ~SB

JM: Now I understand Sergei's point in relation to a "historical reconstruction" of psychoanalysis in America and post-war different schools of freudian followers. Unfortunatelly I know almost nothing about it. My commentary was inspired in VN's constant reference to a "Viennese quack" ie: the original Bergstrasse 19, Vienna, Sigmund Freud - and not to the fashionable "freudism" in the new continent ( Pnin's imported Winds are satirized in connection to Freud's Oedipus theories). SB's additional commentary clarifies this issue.
VN's use of popular psychoanalytic theories on dream symbolism is usually very explicit ( cf. Shade's lines 641-644 on "fishy Freuds"), not hidden in the plot ( since he might then seem to be competing or applying a Freudian kind of "investigation"?)

SB: I read somewhere that VN was acquainted with Charcot's experiments with hysterics. He also seems to have made reference to the famous umbrella experiment by Bernheim, but I cannot remember where and in what context. Do you know?

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btw: I was re-reading "Good readers, good writers" to discover what VN might expect from a Pale Fire reader. I saw that VN mentions the word "patience", as in Rimbaud's poem about Eternity, not only "intuition" and "passion" as in his oft-quoted sentence about art and science.

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