Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025071, Tue, 11 Feb 2014 11:45:13 -0200

Re: [Old SIGHTING] Nabokov's Berlin: Nabokov, art and evil
Julian Connolly Re "Nabokov's use of light-and-shade names": "We recall the last words of "The Fight" (1925): "Or perhaps what matters is not the human pain or joy at all but, rather, the play of shadow and light on a live body, the harmony of trifles assembled on this particular day, this particular moment, in a unique and inimitable way." The major English novels would seem to refute that proposition."

Jansy Mello: When Julian Connolly mentioned "the play of shadow and light on a live body" I was carried back to Nabokov's early "The Enchanter" where this matter is explored at length while "Arthur" watches a little girl moving in a sunny park reflecting the play of light that's been filtered through the leaves of shady trees. Perhaps there'd be echoes of it in "Lolita", the same magic despair?

The sentences I found carried a similar mood but were unrelated. For example:
1.Through the darkness and the tender trees we could see the arabesques of lighted windows which, touched up by the colored inks of sensitive memory, appear to me now like playing cards ...
2. As I look back on those days, I see them divided tidily into ample light and narrow shade: the light pertaining to the solace of research in palatial libraries, the shade to my excruciating desires and insomnias of which enough has been said.
3.Several times already, a trick of harlequin light that fell through the glass upon an alien handwriting had twisted it into a semblance of Lolita's script causing me almost to collapse..

And yet, I think that my associations may serve to indicate another dimension to "light and shade" (not the nuanced chiaroscuro effect, not the black and white oppositions in a checkerboard) because, in VN, shades are not necessarily grey but may be colored too, like the shadows cast by leaves or in a harlequin stained-glass with its blank, dirty or bejewelled panes, or like in Victor's artful drawings in "Pnin". Of course: why restrict my search to greyness? Stained-glass and harlequin losenges regularly appear even as metaphors, not only as simple objects or images ), in almost every novel or story by V.Nabokov.
I hope to locate more examples in the future.

btw: I checked the contrast to "humber/umber" in "bert". It indicates "bright"...
BERT http://www.behindthename.com/name/bert
GENDER: Masculine
USAGE: English, German, Dutch
PRONOUNCED: BURT (English), BERT (German, Dutch) [key]
Meaning & History
Short form of ALBERT and other names containing the element bert, often derived from the Germanic element beraht meaning "bright".
or from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bert_(name)
Bert is a hypocoristic form of a number of Germanic male given names, such as Robert and Albert.
There is a large number of Germanic names ending in -bert, second in number only to those ending in -wolf (-olf, -ulf). Most of these names are early medieval or medieval and only a comparatively small fraction remains in modern use.
The element -berht has the meaning of "bright", Old English beorht/berht, Old High German beraht/bereht, ultimately from a Common Germanic *berhtaz, from a PIE root *bhereg-"white, bright". The female hypocoristic of names containing the same element is Berta.
Modern English bright itself has the same etymology, but it has suffered metathesis at an early date, already in the Old English period, attested as early as AD 700 in theLindisfarne Gospels. The unmetathesized form disappears after AD 1000 and Middle English from about 1200 has briht universally.

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