NABOKV-L post 0007231, Fri, 6 Dec 2002 14:10:49 -0800

Fw: Flatman solution
Flatman solution
----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Wednesday, December 04, 2002 7:29 PM
Subject: Flatman solution

Thanks to Mr Haan here is the quote from de Quincey:

The reader may choose to think of him as possibly no more than a sublunary druggist; it may be so, but my faith is better<I believe him to have evanesced, 11 or evaporated. So unwillingly would I connect any mortal remembrances with that hour, and place, and creature, that first brought me acquainted with the celestial drug.

Note 11 EVANESCED: this way of going off the stage of life appears to have been well known in the 17th century, but at that time to have been considered a peculiar privilege of blood-royal, and by no means to be allowed to druggists. For about the year 1686 a poet of rather ominous name (and who, by-the-bye, did ample justice to his name), viz., Mr. FLATMAN, in speaking of the death of Charles II. expresses his surprise that any prince should commit so absurd an act as dying, because, says he,

³Kings should disdain to die, and only disappear.²

They should abscond, that is, into the other world.

from Sergey Aksenov:

Can Kinbote be making the Flatman reference not in response to Pnin's
difficult name, but to an earlier quotation by Shade that "Kings do not
die - they only disappear". This "quote" (?) prompted Professor Hurley to
inquire "who said that?", which in turn prompted Kinbote to reply
"Flatman"later (why was he thinking so long though?*) and to call Hurley an
[ignorant] "old fraud" in the Index...

* It probably took Kinbote a while to come up with the answer. First he had to recognize the quote, then he had to remember where he had read it, then he had to remember the source. That would take anyone a while. Perhaps Shade's "pun-cture" remark helped him to remember Flatman's name.

Carolyn Kunin