Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0014526, Fri, 29 Dec 2006 05:56:18 EST

Re: Shadow of a bird image

Sandy Drescher wrote:
Interestingly, birds, like many humans, do not inhibit this instinctive
behavior in response to life experience - reflection being absent from their
learning strategies.

Nice point.
For what it’s worth, in turn, I’ve just been watching the Howard Hughes
flick, Hell’s Angels, 1930, and I wondered if VN ever saw it. The aerial combat
scenes of WWI biplanes reminded me of hordes of butterflies filling the sky;
and I can’t forget the jaw-dropping sight of two of them crashing straight
into each other in mid-air, and dropping to the ground. This must have been
when two of the three pilots who died during the filming came to their ends.
Not wholly unreminiscent of the wax-winged Icarus, Yeats, Auden, Carlos
Williams and the Breughel painting.
As has already been remarked, part of the power of Pale Fire is its amazing
ability continually to remind one of something else in one’s own reading or
experience. I feel I must now re-locate the instances of air crashes
recounted in its pages.

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