Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025540, Sun, 13 Jul 2014 13:35:06 +0200

Re: CCL: Title, Kafkaian undertones and efficiency: a correction
Many thanks to Stephen for his quick solving of the bug!

A few remarks about § 3&4 of Cloud, Castle, Lake:

The trip doesn't start so badly after all. The weather on that morning is not unpleasant: "dull, but steam-warm and close, with an inner sun", a projection of, or a metaphor for, I suggest, Vasiliy Ivanovitch's inner feelings, which could be translated in words like 'it's so delightful to be safely enclosed within oneself, with one's dreams and fantasies' - sensual and romantic dreams probably, as suggested by the image of the woman he loved and that of the alluring "feminine fate in a low-cut gown" (the hostess of the charity ball probably), introduced by a "for no reason at all", one of VN's recurrent devices to draw the reader's attention to certain details, while denying their importance.

The short description of the weather in Berlin is strongly reminiscent of and reads like an abstract of the atmosphere imbued with sensuality described at length in the opening § of Spring in Fialta : "Spring in Fialta is cloudy and dull. Everything is damp. The air is windless and warm. There's something in the very somnolence of its humid Lent that especially anoints one's soul. What luscious elation I felt rippling through my veins, how gratefully my whole being responded to the flutters and effluvia of that gray day saturated with a vernal essence".

Vasiliy Ivanovitch is a poet of the Lensky kind, I think. "The really good life", he thinks, "must be oriented toward something or someone".
Compare it to a variant to Canto 2 stanza VII of Eugene Onégine where Pushkin introduces Lensky:

he knew both work and inspiration
and the refreshment of repose
and toward something a young life's
indescribable urge

quoted by VN in his commentary, where, VN writes, Pushkin describes "the nature of that young and mediocre poet in the idiom Lensky himself uses in his elegies, an idiom [...] blurred by the drift of unfocused words"

Laurence Hochard

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