NABOKV-L post 0006222, Wed, 21 Nov 2001 11:29:26 -0800

Fwd: VN Sighting in _Lemony Snicket_ (fwd)
EDITOR's NOTE. Priscilla Meyer, author of _PALE FIRE. See What the Sailor
Has Hidden_ and many other publications on VN and newly elected Vice
President of the International Vladimir Nabokov Society, resolves the
VN/Lemony Snicket puzzle. The author, Dan Handler, was a student in her
Nabokov class at Wesleyan.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 16:14:47 -0800
From: Priscilla Meyer <>
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>

Lemony, alias Dan Handler, graduated from Wesleyan University and
wrote a senior thesis on Nabokov and the Marx Brothers.

Priscilla Meyer

>EDITOR's NOTE. NABOKV-L thanks Holly Cupala for the gem below.
>-------- Original Message --------
>Subject: VN Sighting in a most unexpected locale! Date: Mon, 19 Nov
>2001 23:18:27 -0800 From: "Holly A. Cupala"
><><> Reply-To:
><><> To: "'Vladimir
>Nabokov Forum'"
> ----------------- Message requiring your approval (48 lines)
>In The Hostile Hospital, Lemony Snicket's latest chronicle of the
>unfortunate Baudelaire children, there is a wonderfully mischievous
>reference to VN:
>At this point in the dreadful story I am writing, I must interrupt for a
>moment and describe something that happened to a good friend of mine
>named Mr. Sirin. Mr. Sirin was a lepidopterist, a word which usually
>means "a person who studies butterflies." In this case, however, the
>word "lepidopterist" means "a man who was being pursued by angry
>government officials," and on the night I am telling you about they were
>right on his heels. Mr. Sirin looked back to see how close they
>were--four officers in their bright-pink uniforms, with small
>flashlights in their left hands and large nets in their right--and
>realized that in a moment they would catch up, and arrest him and his
>six favorite butterflies, which were frantically flapping alongs
>ide him.
>Mr. Sirin did not care much if he was captured--he had been in prison
>for and a half times over the course of his long and complicated
>life--but he cared very much about the butterflies. He realized that
>these six delicate insects would undoubtedly perish in bug prison, where
>poisonous spiders, stinging bees, and other criminals would rip them to
>shreds. So, as the secret police closed in, Mr. Sirin opened his mouth
>as wide as he could and swallowed all six butterflies whole, quickly
>placing them in the dark but safe confines of his empty stomach. It was
>not a pleasant feeling to have these six insects living inside him, but
>Mr. Sirin kept them there for three years, eating only the lightest
>foods served in prison so as not to crush the insects with a clump of
>broccoli or a baked potato. When his prison sentence was over, Mr. Sirin
>burped up the grateful butterflies and resumed his lepidoptery work in a
>community that was much more friendly to scientists and their sp
>I am telling you this story not just to reveal the courage and
>imagination of one of my dearest friends, but to help you imagine how
>Klaus and Sunny felt as they watched Esmé Squalor, disguised as an
>associate of Dr. Flacutono, walk down the hallway of Heimlich Hospital
>carrying the long, rusty knife disguised as a surgical tool to be used
>on Violet. The two youngsters realized that their only chance of finding
>the Surgical Ward and rescuing their sister was to try and fool this
>greedy and stiletto-heeled villain, but as they approached her, like Mr.
>Sirin during his fifth and final prison sentence, the two Baudelaires
>felt the unpleasant fluttering of butterflies in their stomachs.
>Holly A. Cupala
>fine art and writing for all ages

"La genie n'est autre chose qu'une grande aptitude a la patience"


Priscilla Meyer
Russian Department
Fisk Hall
Wesleyan University
Middletown CT 06459
(860) 685-3127
(860) 347-0059