NABOKV-L post 0005796, Thu, 8 Mar 2001 08:40:13 -0800

Rosebud (fwd)
From: Kiran Krishna <>

It just occured to me that in the following sentence (Part 1, Chapter 7,
Page 23 in the annotated edition):

"Next day, an asthmatic woman, coarsely painted, garrulous, garlicky, with
an almost farcical Provencal accent and a black mustache above a purple
lip, took me to what was her own domicile, and there, after explosively
kissing the bunched tips of her fat fingers to signify the delectable
rosebud quality of her merchandise, she theatrically drew aside a curtain
to reveal what I judged was that part of the room where a large and
unfastidious family usually slept."

Rosebud could be interpreted as a reference to Orson Welles' Citizen
Kane. Of course, allusions cannot really be discerned from single words,
but Welles, like a number of other great artists, has a fascination with
vulgarity (though in Citizen Kane, the vulgarity is closer to kitsch
than poshlost'). Ada (especially Dan Veen, the dream chapter - Part 2,
Chapter 3, and the dozen elderly townsmen of Part 1, Chapter 39, which
reminds me of the dozen vacationers in the west wing of Xanadu) suggests
Citizen Kane much more strongly. However, I find that Appel's essay (which
among other things is remarkable for its appreciation of Stravinsky's
Oedipus Rex), 'Nabokov's Dark Cinema' (collected, if you cannot find it by
itself, in 'The Bitter Air of Exile') makes no mention at all of Welles,
and neither, I notice, does Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years. Still, I
think it would be a fascinating area of research, and would be delighted
to hear other views on this subject.