NABOKV-L post 0002210, Wed, 2 Jul 1997 12:58:41 -0700

VN & Charlie Chaplin

From: Gennady Barabtarlo <>

A good review of two Chaplin biographies by Michael Wood in the latest NYRB
fortifies the faintly hazardous link btw. Lolita's plot and one of
Chaplin's several sordid life episodes. One place seems particularly apt:
"[Ch.Ch.] survived paternity suit and indictment for violation of the Mann
Act (transporting a minor across a state line for immoral purposes)." And
further on Wood observes, quite to the point, that one scene in Monsieur
Verdoux "anticipates HH's scheme for murdering Ch. Haze... Verdoux takes
one of his wives out in a boat on a lake , and is ready to strangle her
with a noose when he realizes that they are being watched from the shore
[by a yodeler!]".

By the way, while I knew vaguely of Chaplin's leftside tic, I thought it
was the usual acquired reflex common in the profession, and learned only
from the review that in the 1940s, in many speeches, he praised the Soviets
for what he and others called "the purges". I wonder whether VN knew that
by the time he wrote Chapter Three of Pnin.

Gennady Barabtarlo
451 GCB University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211
573-882-9454 Fax 573-884-8456