Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0014086, Thu, 16 Nov 2006 17:33:53 -0800

automatism, diagnosing a character; drugs, lycanthropy & versipel

I wish it were as easy as that to reach a correct diagnosis for any kind of
mental illness.


Of course I'm not making a diagnosis - - nor is Shade a clinical case
history, just a character in a fiction by - - well, Mr U-no-hu. The literary
use of multiple personality (or not) has nothing to do with the actual
practice of psychiatry.

Which reminds me - - checking on versipel in the archives I came across a
reference to the Latin word versipellis which sent me to the Encyclopedia
Britannica article on Lycanthropy. I was interested to learn that there are
references in the literature to the use of drugs ... And all this time I
thought this was an invention of RLS!

The appearance of versipellis in the EB article of course was a possible
source for VN's knowledge of the word. But that would suggest he was
interested in lycanthropy ...


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