Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025621, Wed, 20 Aug 2014 00:21:06 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] Brian Boyd in The Nabokovian,
two annotations: Demon "oeillet" and a vacuum into which rushes...
Jansy Mello: In note 244.23; and nothing is fuller than an empty mind, we
read Cf. 294-16-18 “This created a vacuum into which rushed a multitude of
trivial reflections. A pantomime of rational thought.” […] Thanks to the
link with atemporality, the meaning of the sentence related to “trivial
reflections, pantomime of rationality” is not necessarily as negative as it
appears to be at first sight. It might be indicative of that other kind of
“thought” process related to perception and the senses, or to Bergson’s
atemporality where there’s a rejection of utilitarian thinking and
logic.“…And the highest enjoyment of timelessness […] This is ecstasy, and
behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a
momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with
sun and stone.[…]

P S - But, actually, Van’s observation seems to be doubly negative if one
reads the entire sentence* when to be conscious of details and natural life
becomes an agony because his beloved is absent from the entire landscape
(Van’s “magic method” against “the loss, the loss, the loss” is what is
named a “denial”).

It’s my impression that the iteration of “vacuum into which rushes…” was not
a random occurrence but an inclusion of “pain and filth” into the formerly
ecstatic feeling of oneness with sun and stone…

However, the suggestive “timelessness, or atemporality” still retains an
indication of Bergson’s duration (“la durée”). But now V. Nabokov has added
another twist to Van’s associations about the “Time of the strong”:
“but for Log’s sake, let us not confuse Time with Tinnitus, and the seashell
hum of duration with the throb of our blood. Philosophically, on the other
hand, Time is but memory in the making. In every individual life there goes
on from cradle to deathbed the gradual shaping and strengthening of that
backbone of consciousness, which is the Time of the strong.”
It must include pain and loss…


*- “It was a quarter to six on the wristwatch hanging from the net of the
hammock. His feet were stone cold. He groped for his loafers and walked
aimlessly for some time among the trees of the coppice where thrushes were
singing so richly, with such sonorous force, such fluty fioriture that one
could not endure the agony of consciousness, the filth of life, the loss,
the loss, the loss. Gradually, however, he regained a semblance of
self-control by the magic method of not allowing the image of Ada to come
anywhere near his awareness of himself. This created a vacuum into which
rushed a multitude of trivial reflections. A pantomime of rational thought.
Ada, I, ch.41


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