NABOKV-L post 0007289, Mon, 16 Dec 2002 15:48:03 -0800

: Fw: : Quilty's name: The Poetry of Being Quilty]

----- Original Message -----
From: Donald Johnson
Sent: Monday, December 16, 2002 3:14 PM
Subject: [Fwd: RE: Fw: : Quilty's name: The Poetry of Being Quilty]

See below. --BB
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, December 16, 2002 1:57 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: : Quilty's name: The Poetry of Being Quilty

In a message dated 16/12/02 04:28:17 GMT Standard Time, writes:

There is no reason to suppose Quilty's name a pseudonym, and since HH
> to indict him as the villain of the piece, every reason to assume that he
> would have chosen not to spare his name.
> BB

Dear Professor Boyd,

Why, then, is "Vivian Darkbloom", who, according to John Ray Jr., PhD, has written Quilty's biography, a pseudonym, as also indicated by John Ray Jr., PhD? How could disguising the name of the author of a biography of a correctly named playwright save anyone's anonymity? Come to that, if, as Dr Ray tells us, we can look these events up in the newspaper, we would surely learn the true name of HH. He dies before facing trial, but his arrest would have been reported.


Within the fiction, HH expects the trial to go ahead (he doesn't know he's about to die, except perhaps in the last paragraph) and therefore to be reported. But he doesn't expect his confession to be read for another half-century. He's protecting everybody (including even himself and of course Lolita, whose true maiden and married surnames are not disclosed and who will be dead by the time the book is published) except Clare Quilty, to whom "I have camouflaged what I could so as not to hurt people" obviously does not apply.

But of course VN knows we are not within the fiction, and he has HIS reasons for the scare quotes around the names of the "real" people beyond the "true" story in paragraph 3 of Ray's introduction: especially, to introduce the fact of Lolita's death in a way that first-time readers cannot detect, amid the thicket of camouflaged names, but in a way they can identify immediately they end the novel, if they have not already rushed to do so at the end of Dolly's note in II.27.

"Vivian Darkbloom" is there in quotes because all the other names are, and because VN needed an anagram of his own name to point to his authorship in case anyone else claimed it, at the time when he was expecting to publish the book anonymously.

Incidentally, do YOU have any idea why the hotel in Kubrick's film is "The Hunted Enchanters"? That would be Nabokov's doing, if anyone's, wouldn't it? Nobody responded when I asked this a few months ago.

No idea. No, it wouldn't be VN's doing; he has "Enchanted Hunters" in his Screenplay, and Kubrick decided what he wanted once he had VN's name and reputation behind the screenplay as additional protection against the threat of censorship.

Best wishes,

Anthony Stadlen