Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015508, Fri, 28 Sep 2007 13:50:04 -0400

QUERY: Two LATH! Questions
While looking into the passages in LATH! concerning VV's relationship with
Bel (including a stay at the Lupine Lodge) I've been stumped by a couple of

1) In his description of Bel, VV says she resembles the girl in Serov's
painting Five-petaled Lilac, who sits at a table "manipulating a raceme of
lilac in search of that lucky token." What, pray tell, is the lucky token?
I can't find any antecedent in the passage and since it is not lilac season
right now I can't try the experiment myself.

2) Does there exist anywhere an explication of Bel's second poem, about the
wolf's head and "Medor, a dead dog"? VV implies that he could give it a
Kinbotean reading, but I haven't been able to get very far. I admit that I
am not yet up-to-date on all the existing LATH! criticism, so I'm hoping
someone has already figured it out and will make it easy for me!

By the way, I am working on the notion that Bel's name should bring to mind
Annabel Leigh (VV calls her Isabel Lee but it's hard to know if that's her
real name or not) but also Christabel, the Cinderella figure who fled from
her father's incestuous advances. Also, the lilac here should link Bel to
Ophelia and thus to the Rusalka/Naiads theme that runs through several

Matt Roth

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