Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0007273, Sun, 15 Dec 2002 10:34:50 -0800

Fw: Quilty's name: The Poetry of Being Quilty
----- Original Message -----
From: "Brian Boyd (FOA ENG)" <b.boyd@auckland.ac.nz>
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> Let us not forget that Quilty is not-uncommon Irish surname, deriving from
> the town of Quilty, in Clare County, Ireland, which is appropriate in a
> number of ways:
> 1) Quilty hides his name in the register of hotels and motels along the
> trail between Beardsley and Elphinstone in the most maddening confusion of
> place-names and personal names in literature outside, perhaps, Finnegans
> Wake.
> 2) At one of the pre-arranged spots on that trajectory, Lolita ensures
> Humber takes her to see a play by Clare Quilty and Vivian Darkbloom that
> compared to the rainbow girls motif in Finnegans Wake:
> The only detail that pleased me was a garland of seven little graces, more
> or less immobile, prettily painted, bare-limbed-seven bemused pubescent
> girls in colored gauze that had been recruited locally (judging by the
> partisan flurry here and there among the audience) and were supposed to
> represent a living rainbow, which lingered throughout the last act, and
> rather teasingly faded behind a series of multiplied veils. I remember
> thinking that this idea of children-colors had been lifted by authors
> Quilty and Vivian Darkbloom from a passage in James Joyce, and that two of
> the colors were quite exasperatingly lovely-Orange who kept fidgeting all
> the time, and Emerald who, when her eyes got used to the pitch-black pit
> where we all heavily sat, suddenly smiled at her mother or her protector.
> (II.18, 222-23)
> 3) The town of Quilty happens to be on Mal Bay. Francophone Humbert seems
> himself as an ardent lover but Quilty as a degenerate, an incarnation of
> evil (French mal).
> Tom Z. Bolt does not mention it, but the United States as a geographical
> quilt is of course an image explicit in Lolita, in a way that plays again
> c___ quilt:
> By putting the geography of the United States into motion, I did my best
> hours on end to give her the impression of "going places," of rolling on
> some definite destination, to some unusual delight. I have never seen such
> smooth amiable roads as those that now radiated before us, across the
> quilt of forty-eight states. (II.1: 154)
> ("Crazy quilt" is a set phrase: W2: "A quilt made of pieces of silk or
> material of miscellaneous sizes, shapes and colors.")
> Humbert's judgment of "clearly guilty"; the misleading lead of qu'il t'y
> mène; Camp Q, My Cue (a pun in itself, one dramatist recalling another),
> Laqueue: the place-names in the hotel registers; the momentary link with a
> rather better Irish author; the "crazy quilt" of the continental US; and
> additional plays with the name, like "reviving quilted Quilty, Clare
> Obscure" (II.36, 308): there is surely enough to justify the name Quilty,
> even if it is not quite as rich a name (but then how many are?) as Kinbote
> or Shade or Van Veen. None of the significances of Quilty's name of course
> predetermines Nabokov's treatment of his character, deeds or fate.
> Brian Boyd
> -----Original Message-----
> From: D. Barton Johnson [mailto:chtodel@cox.net]
> Sent: Sunday, December 15, 2002 7:53 AM
> Subject: Fw: Quilty's name: The Poetry of Being Quilty
> EDNOTE. From the well-known writer, poet, art critic, Zogist, and
> anagrammarian
> Thomas Bolt a.k.a. "b0sh0tmalt "<bolt@tbolt.com>
> ----------------------------------------------------------
> > 1.
> > I was recently in Rome, where men of a certain class (political,
> > professional) are still wearing the same diamond-quilted jackets
> > they were wearing ten years before. The fashion is not new, but
> > I was asking some historians about it a week ago, and I heard
> > myself asking,
> >
> > "What is the origin of those quilty jackets?"
> >
> > And hearing the reply,
> >
> > "They've been around Europe for at least 100 years. They're
> > hunting jackets."
> >
> > I was, of course, enchanted by this answer.
> >
> >
> > 2.
> > A quilt is an American patchwork cover for a bed that has a warm
> > stuffing carefully stitched in place. The 48 continental United
> > States, with their double trails of slime, would seem to be at
> > the edge of the name Quilty.
> >
> >
> > 3.
> > The upholstered, stuffed, and robustly padded nature of a
> > certain kind of poshlust', specifically as described by N in his
> > comments on the hero of Gogol's DEAD SOULS, would seem to apply
> > to Quilty (as to M'sieur Pierre), and also to be embodied in his
> > name.
> >
> >
> >
> >