Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000288, Fri, 8 Jul 1994 12:41:18 -0700

lolita geography (fwd)
EDITOR'S NOTE: This morning Dieter Zimmer in Germany submitted four
queries re the geography of VN's LOLITA in connection with his new
annotated edition of the novel. In the space of a couple of hours, there
have been 3-4 answers. I am sending them to the list as a sample of the
information resources (i.e., the subscribers) that NABOKV-L makes
possible. I encourage other subscribers to submit their queries.
I would also call to your attention that Brian Boyd has asked for
reader explications of allusions in ADA for addition to his annotations
which are running in THE NABOKOVIAN. (Currently, Part I, chptr 3.)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 11:29:53 EST
From: EJNICOL@root.indstate.edu
To: nabokv-l@UCSBVM.ucsb.edu
Subject: lolita geography

For item # 1, "Crystal Chamber in the world's longest cave," which is
actually on page 159, I have always assumed (without checking on its
actual existence) that Carlsbad Cavern was the cave referred to.
True, it is not even the longest cave in the U.S., much less the
world, but it is in the right geographic area and has many lovely
areas with titles like this one--and the two C's of its title may
have been sufficient in Nabokov's mind to identify it with the two
C's of Carlsbad Caverns.
As to Mammoth Cave, it is by far the longest cave in the U.S. (I
don't know about the world), honey-combing a karst formation
(limestone rock). Since the publication of *Lolita*, the discovery
of connecting passages to another local cave has added another
hundred miles or so to its known length. But Mammoth Cave is not
only wrong geographically, it is a decidedly plain cave, very short
on stalagtites, stalagmites, and stalags in general. I doubt that
even the most daring promoter would name any part of it Crystal
Chamber. --Chaz Nicol