Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025237, Sun, 30 Mar 2014 13:54:03 -0300

One more proliferative quote...
We certainly remember, from recent postings, Prof. Pnin's (1957) presence in
"Pale Fire" (1962) and the reference about "hurricane Lolita." (1955).
Sometimes it's so complicated to keep track in our memory of all the
wandering VN characters!

So here is another familiar tidbit, bearing a double play on the word "a
passage" (a SciFi "portal"?) that I hadn't noticed until now and an amusing
slight on "telepathy."

VN speaking about Pnin in 1966: ".in which, incidentally, the boy at St.
Mark's and Pnin both dream of a passage from my drafts of Pale Fire, the
revolution in Zembla and the escape of the king - that is telepathy for
you!" (84)

"Ada" started to be planned in 1959 and it was ready in 1968. I wonder how
many of VN's intratextualities are yet to be identified in "Ada." The ones
that come readily to my mind are related to "Lolita": Dolores, Swinburne,
Byron*. Mnemosyne, eh?


*. My Late Discovery of Hitchens' Essays (posted on February 21.2012)

"Though only a quarter of the way through this 788 page volume I am so far
hooked, not only by the diversity of subjects, but the penetrating quality
of his well-researched essays. His Nabokov and Newton essays are so far my
favourites. Here's a taster of the Nabokov, a review of Lolita, which
succeeds in offering me new insight into a well-loved fiction.

Once you start to take a shy hand in the endless game of decoding the puns
and allusions and multiple entendres (the Umberto echoes, if I may be
allowed) that give this novel its place next to Ulysses, you are almost
compelled to agree with Freud that the unconscious never lies. Swinburne's
poem Dolores sees a young lady ('Our Lady of Pain") put through rather more
than young Miss Haze. Lord Byron's many lubricities are never far away; in
the initial stages of his demented scheme Humbert quotes from Childe
Harold's Pilgrimage: "To hold thee lightly on a gentle knee and print on
thin soft cheek a parent's kiss," and when we look up the lines we find they
are addressed to Harold's absent daughter (who like Byron's child and
Nabokov's longest fiction, is named Ada). Humbert's first, lost girlfriend,
Annabel, is perhaps not unrelated to Byron's first wife, Anna Isabella, who
was known as "Annabella," and she has parents named Leigh, just like Byron's
ravished half-sister Augusta."

(cf also http://howtoplayalone.wordpress.com/hitchens-on-lolita/)

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