Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025492, Sat, 28 Jun 2014 21:59:47 +0200

CCL: Title, Kafkaian undertones and efficiency
To me, the title, because of its rythm and the similarity of rythm with King, Queen, Knave suggests a hand of cards, the miraculous hand of cards Vasili is waiting for. The next short story in the anthology is Signs and Symbols which features a hand of 3 (ominous) cards.
(And why not "Lake, Castle, Cloud"?) asks SES. I wonder if the order of the words is the same in Russian?

When reading the first paragraph, one can't help but think of Kafka's The Trial (which was published in Berlin 12 years before CCL). Like Josef K, Vasili Ivanovitch is caught in a bureaucratic maze; however, the resemblance is superficial; the bureacracy is far less systematic and implacable than in The Trial. We are told that selling the ticket would would involve cutting through all sorts of red tape but nowhere are we told that he has to go. He could simply forego the trip, So, why did he go?

We learn in the very first sentence that Vasili Ivanovitch is a very efficient representative of the anonymous narrator but the last paragraph reveals that the position he wants to resign is not an ordinary one, he wants to resign his position as a member of mankind.; But we may wonder what his "efficiency" consists in ...

Laurence Hochard

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