Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025191, Thu, 13 Mar 2014 23:31:24 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] Revelation, Revolution,
Altar & Palermontovia in Ada
A. Sklyarenko: “The poet whom the Russian radical critics attacked most violently in the 1860s was Afanasiy Fet (1820-92). Fet's poem Avaddon ("Abaddon," 1883) is a re-telling of Chapter 9 of St. John's Revelation: Ангел, и лев, и телец, и орёл – [ ] The angel, the lion, the calf and the eagle -/all of them six-winged - hold the throne./And over the throne and the one who sits in it/ Raduga [the rainbow] shines brightly...” [ ] Pushkin is also the author of Besy ("The Demons," 1830) and Ne dai mne Bog soiti s uma ("The Lord forbid my going mad..." 1833). Several stanzas of the former great poem Dostoevski chose as an epigraph to his novel Besy ("The Possessed," 1872) [ ] Dostoevski's favorite poem of Pushkin (often recited by the author of The Double) was Prorok ("The Prophet," 1826): Духовной жаждою томим,/В пустыне мрачной я влачился, -/И шестикрылый серафим/На перепутье мне явился.”
Jansy Mello: Following A. Sklyarenko’s post, mainly taking VN’s “Ada” as a point of departure for his informative associations, I remembered a past discussion at the VN-L (2005) where a connection was established between “Pushkin’s poem "Prorok" [and] a line in Pale Fire (Canto 2) in which VN speaks of a six winged seraph. Paintings with those "flamingo winged seraphs" can be found in "Revelations - Art of the Apocalypse" (Nancy Grubb,Abbeville Press)…The six winged seraphs of Revelations 4 were there described as "Beasts" and interpreted as the Four evangelists ( Lion, Eagle...) or the various tribes of Judah [ ] “ Cf. also Revelations 4:8 “And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”

Carolyn Kunin: Excuse me, Jansy, but I don't understand. What is it that you call Nabokov's mistake? or Kinbote's error?
Jansy Mello: The observation was made by Matthew Roth. His words, in full: MR: Actually, the Index note reads, “The capital letters G, K, S (which see) stand for the three main characters in this work.” The interesting question for me is not the letters but Kinbote’s use of the term “main characters.” This phrase is fitting if the book is a novel, but Kinbote seems to think he is writing a scholarly edition concerning real people. He might have said “persons” instead, though I dearly wish he had said “personalities.” If I had to guess, I would wager that this is Nabokov’s mistake, rather than an intentional error given to Kinbote. On the other hand, the phrase “this work,” which implies that Shade’s poem and K’s apparatus criticus are all of a piece, nicely reflects Kinbote’s narcissism.

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