NABOKV-L post 0025636, Sat, 23 Aug 2014 22:26:33 -0300

Subject
RES: [NABOKV-L] "A black hot humid night" in ADA - B Boyd's
notes 250.03-27 - E.B-Lytton's "It was a dark and stormy night"
Date
Body

Brian Boyd, in The Nabokovian, 72 (2014) compares the lines describing
"black hot humid night" in ADA and compares them to two lines in
"Lolita"...and one in "Pale Fire"(90) by CK "It was a hot, black, blustery
night."He quotes: 250.03-05 "It was - to continue the novelistic structure -
a long, joyful, delicious dinner [...]out of the black hot humid
night.";250.27 It was a black hot humid night in mid-July, 1888... My
attention was drawn by Brian's reference to "to continue the novelistic
structure" related to this dramatic nightly setting. I remembered Charles
Schulz's Snoopy satirical variations for a similar "purple" sentence in a
novel ("It was a dark and stormy night") [...] an often-mocked and parodied
phrase written by English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton in the opening
sentence of his 1830 novel Paul Clifford. The phrase is considered to
represent "the archetypal example of a florid, melodramatic style of fiction
writing," also known as purple prose.

Probably there's another reference related to Note 250.27. [The missing
quotes in the former L-message are: SoVn376: “On a hot day in mid-June”;
Lolita: “in the monstrously hot and humid night”(148);“It was a black warm
night…” (283)]
in Note 258.01-05: “Who, in the terror and solitude of a long night-:”
BB’s commentary: “Parody of nineteenth-century novelistic narration.”

How would the month of July, concerning novelistic parodies, be significant,
as indicated in “Ada” and in “Pale Fire” (Summer being less clearly in the
other quotes) ?

In Brian’s “Afternote” he takes up a commentary by Bozovic (“Demon
experiences ‘that complete collapse of the past,’ when ‘the human part of
one’s affection’ for an old lover vanishes with ‘the dust of inhuman
passion” . How similarly Marcel mourns the collapse of memories, his past
selves, and the vanished house of Combray; how exaggeratedly Proustian too
is Demon’s ardor…”(96) and adds: “Demon’s sense of ‘the complete collapse of
the past’(251) in I.38 almost prefigures the sense of physical and emotional
distance from Ada that Van intends to maintain after he flees from her
infidelities and Ardis.”

I would like to relate Brian’s comment to another one he made before(82),
concerning 261.32:Partir c’est mourir un peu… Brian situates the quote “in
the opening line of ‘Rondel de l’adieu’ (1890), by French poet and
song-writer Edmond Haraucourt [ ] The next line in the poem is “C’est
mourir à ce qu”on aime” (“It is to die to what one loves”)”.

And also to a future event, already mentioned in 244.23. Namely, “this
created a vacuum into which rushed a multitude of trivial
reflections.”(294.16-18)

Proust’s collapse of memories or, who knows, Nabokov’s own concerning his
feelings for Irina Guadagnini. I won’t even try to find where I read it (it
must have been in VN’s collected letters)but V.Nabokov showed a particular
insensitivity to the pecuniary hardships his former love was enduring when
he refused to comply to a friend’s suggestion that he should help her out of
her troubles. He must have had to cope with a lot of financial proposals and
I’m not wondering about his refusal but his harsh reply.

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