NABOKV-L post 0002374, Tue, 23 Sep 1997 12:21:00 -0700

Re: Drescher query re "LOLITA's "Chestnut Lodge" (fwd)
EDITOR'S NOTE. Small wonder that AAA didn't list it!
NABOKV-L thanks Professor Naiman <> for the
following exegesis.
"Chestnut Lodge"

The first word is an anagram (a possessive form of a word best not
transmitted over interstate wires). The second word is a standard common
Elizabethan bawdy word for a bodily site (and, as a verb, activity
therein); the result is a tautology, a physiological parallel of Humbert
Humbert and other such repetitions. Note how Nabokov sets this up: "But
the most penetrating bodkin was the anagramtailed entry in the register of
Chestnut Lodge "Ted Hunter, Cane, NH"." Here is that quintessential
Nabokovian move (priem):an act of misdirection. He leads the reader to
refer a certain interpretive operation to a certain paradigm or word. Yet
the trick is that that very operation must be performed within a different
paradigm or on a different (often closely neighboring) word. Here we
assume that the anagram in question is the obvious one of Ted Hunter,
Cane, NH. And all the while the other, stealth anagram is lying there
right in front of us. Here the reader's work is made somewhat easier by
the fact that both anagrams share the same body part.
And bodkin serves as a kind of lexical toggle into Elizabethan-era
discourse (where tail serves as bodkin's synonym). Not a single obscene
term is to be found in the book; they are all doubled.

for more on anagrams with this import, see pp.51-59 of a great book
published in 1985.

> >
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > The query below was sent to me by a visitor to Zembla. Are any of the
> > list's subscribers able to respond? Thank you.
> >
> > Jeff Edmunds
> >
> > >From: Aline/Alexander Drescher <>
> > >
> > >The last in the series of Chestnut.....[Lolita] is Chestnut Lodge [a
> > >Quilty tease]. Is there a known connection to the psychiatric
> > >hospital of the same name in Baltimore? Thank you.
> > >A.N. Drescher, Lanesboro, MA
> > >
> >
> > ------------------------------
> >
> > ***************************************************
> >