Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026559, Thu, 22 Oct 2015 21:38:41 -0200

RES: [NABOKV-L] RES: [NABOKV-L] [Query] L*lita's homelessness and

Barrie Akin: As regards Jansy's questions on inheritance, a simplified answer is that things are indeed different in America from countries with a continental European derived system such as, say, Brazil, but you have to remember that the laws of the individual US states, at least in the 1940s, when Charlotte dies, varied considerably. The whole subject is also bedevilled by the intricacies of the English law of succession as it was applied (by no means uniformly) in the colonial territories of North America and, of course, as modified thereafter. A lot would depend on whether Charlotte died having made a will. I can't recall any mention of that in the novel.[ ] But isn't this really beside the point? I don't think it matters what financial resources Dolores has available to her. Humbert's coerces Dolores into submission by threatening her with being incarcerated for her own misdeeds if she seeks help. [ ] And even when she writes to Humbert in 1952, Dolores is, I think, only 17 and would either still have felt unsure about her position with the authorities or possibly have assumed that, as Charlotte's widower, Humbert would have had de facto control of her estate, whatever the legal position might turn out to be.

Jansy Mello - PS: Humbert’s blinding depravity reduced the scope of my novelistic horizon. Perhaps that wouldn’t have happened with me were the narrative style and strategy different. After a quick attempt at recollecting stories about child abuse, I chose to dwell on fairy-tales and, of course, Cinderella and Snow-White as told by the Brothers Grimm (there are enough references to lore and legend, magic shoes and hazel-trees, even to Grimm’s name, when HH, moving from Insomnia lodge towards Pavor Manor after a “gas station attendant in Parkington explained to me very clearly how to get to Grimm Road”).

I think that, as it happened with VN’s novel, I had also become blind to the heroine’s plight and blamed it all on the evil step-mother while charmed by her double (her good-fairy equivalent).

I came to a site that uses “Lolita’s” “Enchanted Hunters” in the title. It’s an old (2007) sighting but I think it’s worthy of mention here: <http://harvardmagazine.com/2007/11/the-horror-and-the-beaut.html> http://harvardmagazine.com/2007/11/the-horror-and-the-beaut.html

Excerpts: During the past academic year, Tatar was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, on sabbatical from her faculty duties. (She also served as dean for the humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences from 2003 to 2006.) At Radcliffe, she pursued her newest book project, “Enchanted Hunters: The Transformative Power of Childhood Reading,” broadening her focus from folklore to the general subject of children’s stories./ “ ‘Enchanted hunters’ is a phrase from Nabokov,” she explains. “It has an edge, for it applies, on one level, to Humbert Humbert and his pursuit of Lolita. But it also defines us as readers of Lolita—readers who search and explore as we fall under the spell of Nabokov’s language and his recasting of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ It’s no accident that many children’s books begin with bored children, like Alice on the riverbank reading a book and nodding off. How do you move from boredom to curiosity—how do you animate the child?” [ ] She calls reading a highly creative activity: “Words on the page give you instructions for imagining new worlds, not with a barrage of descriptive details but with spare cues that, even in their filminess and flimsiness, create complete images.” She recalls Nabokov’s description of how an author constructs a house of cards that, in the reader’s mind, becomes a castle of glass and steel, part of a sturdy and durable world./ Tatar’s researches began by addressing violence and horror, but, as she says, “I discovered beauty.” A turning point came on a book tour, when she was telling library audiences about The Hard Facts of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales. “I wanted to talk about the origins of the stories, their evolution, and their cultural meanings,” she recalls. “But people kept coming back to me with descriptions of their enchantment with the stories and how beautiful they were. They wanted to know more about the magic of the stories, the deep melodrama and passion—they were almost operatic about it. That inspired me to go back to reading the stories at a visceral level—it was almost like reconnecting with childhood, the way you read as a child.”

Beauty’s splendor promoting moral blindness* or else, giving access to a different dimension of art, as VN maintained in his interviews and afterwords? …………………………………….

*In “Despair” VN elaborates over this point, following Oscar Wilde’s theories in “The Works of Oscar Wilde” - “Pen, Pencil and Poison” and the matter of “Ars Gratia Artis” Cf. The Caning of Modernist Profaners: Parody in Despair by <https://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/contr.htm#dolinin> Alexander Dolinin and Synthesizing Artistic Delight: The Lesson of Pale Fire by <https://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/contr.htm#walter> Brian Walter. (I cannot find the third article I have in mind that cites O.Wilde, Dostoievsky and Nabokov from where I came to the indication of OW’s “Pen,Pencil and Poison”)

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