NABOKV-L post 0025188, Thu, 13 Mar 2014 12:40:27 -0400

Re: Signs and Symbols in Thomas Hardy
That's a great reference. It would seem that Nabokov was keen on Hardy. There's so much in that section that resonates in VN. I just downloaded Woodlanders for my Kindle for free.

Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2014 14:00:07 +0100
From: mushtary@YAHOO.COM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Signs and Symbols in Thomas Hardy

I am not offering any solution to VN’s “Signs and Symbols”, but would like to draw attention to a relevant and interesting passage from Thomas Hardy’s novel which I read a while ago: The casual glimpses which the ordinary population bestowed upon that wondrous world of sap and leaves called the Hintock woods had been withthese two, Giles and Marty, a clear gaze. They had been possessed of its finer mysteries as of commonplace knowledge; had been able to readits hieroglyphs as ordinary writing; to them the sights and sounds of night, winter, wind, storm, amid those dense boughs, which had to Gracea touch of the uncanny, and even the supernatural, were simple occurrences whose origin, continuance, and laws they foreknew. Theyhad planted together, and together they had felled; together they had, with the run of the years, mentally collected those remoter signs andsymbols which, seen in few, were of runic obscurity, but all together made an alphabet. From the light lashing of the twigs upon their faces,when brushing through them in the dark, they could pronounce upon the species of the tree whence they stretched; from the quality of thewind's murmur through a bough they could in like manner name its sort afar off. They knew by a glance at a trunk if its heart were sound, ortainted with incipient decay, and by the state of its upper twigs, the stratum that had been reached by its roots. The artifices of theseasons were seen by them from the conjuror's own point of view, and not from that of the spectator's. Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders, pp. 340-41 (Macmillan [1887] 1975, New Wessex Edition, ed. Furbank) A. Bouazza

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