Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025156, Tue, 4 Mar 2014 20:42:06 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] topology/fugal time; Kinbote/Gradus
C. Kunin:Would suppressed personalities obey the rules of chronological order? From their own point of view, I suppose they must, but from their "host"? perhaps not. And from their creator's? it's beyond me. 'I do seem to recall that Nabokov does let at least one mistake occur - the simultaneous appearance at a faculty lunch of both Shade and Kinbote. Or perhaps the error is Kinbote, an unreliable narrator - I think we all agree on that. As I recall, Don Johnson says that VN made a similar error in an earlier novel.Escher-like, as you realized, is the key. But who came first - Escher or VN?

Jansy Mello: Who came first? (does it matter?) I checked trivial dates: b. 17 June 1898 – d. 27 March 1972. Perhaps we could include J.S.Bach (and other musicians) in the list of priorities. I cannot remember why Dmitri criticized Hofstadter’s “Goedel,Escher,Bach – The Eternal Golden Braid.” It’s very informative, particularly for laics.

Your thesis differs from Matt Roth’s when it comes to Shade’s transformations or, at least, that’s what it seemed to me when I read his last note to the List [MR: … Kinbote’s “arrival” is coincident with Shade’s attack. He becomes the dominant personality at the time of Shade’s “death.” ] Since Kinbote must be arriving from somewhere other than Zembla, I suppose he means that Kinbote lay dormant in Shade, fully equipped like Athena in Zeus’s forehead - but actually I know nothing about the theory of “multiple personalities” so I’d better leave others to opine and clarify.

You see links in PF to Stevenson’s J&H, a fantastic tale of “doublings”, am I right? And I ignore Matt’s and Tiffany’s position about this allusion.

Objectively, the poem was ready before VN finished writing C.K’s annotations. Perhaps we could begin by distinguishing “fugal time” and Escher recurrences as they appear in the poem itself from CK’s later contributions.

PS: Thanks to B. Akin for the information about the French Biot (and the marvelous coincidence of having “Lucette” own a glass-blowers’s shop and industry) Quite mind boggling.

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