NABOKV-L post 0014131, Tue, 21 Nov 2006 08:46:59 +0100

R: [NABOKV-L] abstruse commentaries and different perspectives (
JM to Steven, P. Dale and JF)
It's not quite appropriate to expatiate on this aspect in this forum. But the line is 'parva vehatur equo' Ars Amatoria Liber 3.777. If you are curious the relevant commentaries on that magnificent poem will fill in the picture.
Peter Dale
----- Original Message -----
From: jansymello
Sent: Monday, November 20, 2006 5:04 PM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] abstruse commentaries and different perspectives ( JM to Steven, P. Dale and JF)

Steven: It's a very invigorating atmosphere that the N-list generates...thanks for tolerating my sometimes inconsequential remarks...
In another posting, he added: the archives sound like a place one could get lost in!

Jansy: I always get lost in the VN-Archives and often in Zembla. Most of the time I return to issues that have been discussed to exaustion and add "inconsequential remarks".In my opinion this is the nicest thing about our List, there is space to write spontaneously and be corrected or informed of other forgotten sources we seem to be drinking from. My commentary on consulting the Archives only expressed an ideal situation...
I try to keep in mind that those who are annoyed with my "word-maps" can always delete messages originated from JM - and with no great loss, I fear.

Jerry Friedman noted that "it's hard to explain lines 939-940: " Man's life as commentary to abstruse/ Unfinished poem. Note for further use." Certainly after the completion of the book they apply in a way Shade couldn't have imagined, but why did he write them? ..."

Jansy: If we change our perspective and isolate the poem from the commentary, we might be able to read into Shade's "note for further use" something very different from what resulted after Kinbote's intervention: CK could have inserted them from one of Shade's twelve unburnt cards: might Canto Four's original verses be sequenced in another way?
The underlined 939-940 verses fit in differently as those "anonymous" words on lines 235-236: "Life is a message scribbled in the dark". Both discuss "what is life" and "disjointed notes set in mean verse".
When I think of real pain and regret ( very distant from a "writer's grief" ) these lines, espied on a bark on the day Hazel died, gain a special poignancy, quite unlike the 939-940 facile philosophy. Still, both lines suggest that there is a "superior being" (?) that reads these messages, writes abstruse poems and who is the addressee of these two sets of lines.
(Similarly, after reading Peter Dale's comments on Ovid, where he informed us that when Ovid" advises short women to ride on horseback, he is not counseling diminutive ladies to take equestrian exercise. He is providing a colourful device for delicately suggesting the best position for them in bed."... Although I initially enjoyed this clever remark, I later realized it must also have been extracted from another context. Would women at Ovid's time learn sexual calisthenics and be able to read Ovid and profit from his instructive advice? If the answer is negative, who would he have addressed then?)
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