NABOKV-L post 0007190, Sun, 1 Dec 2002 09:46:28 -0800

Fw: Fw: Andrew Brown on nun & chronology
----- Original Message -----
From: "Sergej Aksenov" <>
To: <chtodel@COX.NET>
Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2002 5:56 AM
Subject: Fwd: Fw: Andrew Brown on nun & chronology

Dear Don, I believe my message below was lost. Could please you consider
posting it again?

From: "L-Soft list server at UC Santa Barbara (1.8d)"
Date: Tue Nov 26, 2002 11:17:27 Europe/London
Subject: Message ("Your message dated Tue, 26 Nov 2002 23:17:27...")

Your message dated Tue, 26 Nov 2002 23:17:27 +0000 with subject "Re: Fw:
Andrew Brown on nun & chronology" has been submitted to the moderator of the
NABOKV-L list: chtodel@COX.NET.

Begin forwarded message:

> From: Sergej Aksenov <>
> Date: Tue Nov 26, 2002 11:17:27 Europe/London
> To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Fw: Andrew Brown on nun & chronology
> I don't know if it has been noted before (my apologies for the repetition
> if so), but I wonder if the rumour of the king escaping disguised as a nun
> can be a reference to the historic fact of Alexander Kerensky's (Russia's
> last prime minister deposed by Bolsheviks in 1917) escape from Petrograd,
> disguised as a woman.
> Sergej
> On Tuesday, November 26, 2002, at 03:15 , D. Barton Johnson wrote:
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Andrew Brown
>> To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
>> Sent: Monday, November 25, 2002 6:39 PM
>> Subject: Re: Andrew Brown on nun & chronology
>> Ms. Kunin,
>> Here's how I read this. It's the professor of physics, " a so-called
>> " who says claims "That sorry ruler is known to have escaped disguised as
>> a nun."
>> Shade then states that he has it from Kinbote (pointing) that the nun
>> story was a vulgar invention of the Extremists and their friends" to
>> conceal their (the Extremist's) discomfiture. The truth according to
>> Shade,
>> who got it from Kinbote, is that the King escaped not as a "pale
>> spinster"
>> but as an athlete in scarlet.
>> So, a complete opposite: not pale spinster but red satyr considering the
>> King's apparently insatiable antics in Zembla and Kinbote's multiple ping
>> pong partners at Wordsmith. I think that Nabokov's intention in both
>> the reference to a future nun "roommate" (whose I don't know, but you
>> know my
>> thoughts on this word choice) sitting with Hazel, and the second
>> reference,
>> in the commentary, to a fake nun, are both separate statements of about
>> a certain tupe of marginal person -- non-sexual persons.
>> In the first case, with Hazel, her companion would naturally, to Shade,
>> be a fellow non-participant in life's amatory games, and in the second
>> case,
>> the least probable disguise for a randy king (and a choice of disguise
>> that would presumably be the most annoying to the exiled king who has to
>> suffer the imputation of having resorted to it) would be that of a woman
>> and a non-sexual woman at that.
>> What I think is most interesting in this couple of pages of commentary is
>> 1. Shade admitting to having been said to resemble the "slapdash
>> disheveled hag" in the cafeteria, and 2. the strange unease of "Good
>> Netochka" who is singularly uncomfortable during this exchange, and who
>> "hastily" interrupts talk about the king to say, irrelevantly, that the
>> Goldsworths are having a wonderful time.
>> I think "Netochka" Natochdag is one of the most significant characters in
>> the book. Note that he is not mentioned in the index.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: D. Barton Johnson
>> Sent: Monday, November 25, 2002 1:46 PM
>> Subject: Fw: Andrew Brown on nun & chronology
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Carolyn Kunin
>> To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
>> Sent: Saturday, November 23, 2002 10:16 PM
>> Subject: Re: Andrew Brown on nun & chronology
>> A challenge to those who believe that the roommate is Hazel's:
>> Do you see any significance in the nun who turns up in Kinbote's
>> commentary to line 894 ("the widely circulated stuff about the nun") or
>> any relationship between this nun and the roommate who has become one?
>> Andrew Brown's response:
>> As for the nun disguise rumor mentioned in the commentary and the future
>> nun in the poem, the time frame doesn't lend itself to their being the
>> same person. If an actual King Charles had escaped from Zembla disguised
>> as a nun, he could not have arrived at Wordsmith in the form of a "future
>> nun" while Hazel attended school.
>> Dear Mr Brown,
>> I did not mean to suggest that Charles had become Hazel's roommate
>> (bizarre idea and as you say, chronologically impossible since Hazel's
>> death precedes the revolution in Zembla), rather that the nun who turns
>> up in the commentary is Kinbote/Shade's memory of the roommate/nun. To me
>> it was interesting that Shade associates the nun with a feeling of
>> discomfiture.
>> How do you interpret the second appearance of the nun in the commentary
>> is what I am asking.
>> Carolyn Kunin