Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025847, Tue, 25 Nov 2014 07:15:25 -0200

RES: [NABOKV-L] Cat's eyes
Eric Hyman: My guess is that it might be irony, that is, VN is hinting that
green-eyed cats is a literary cliché. Another possibility that the
perception of green eyes is a subjective reflex of the ambient
lighting—certainly a familiar theme in Nabokov. I’ve been around cats all
my life and have yet to see a green-eyed one (Siamese cats really do,
however, have blue eyes).

Jansy: Irony hadn’t occurred to me as a means to indicate a literary cliché
– but you must be right! Perhaps if I’d heard VN say the words I might have
felt it from the start. Thanks, Eric.

(One of my black cats, “Mimi”, has green eyes, “Maracujᔠhas them
honey-colored and “Pipoca”, a ragdoll, is blue-eyed)


JM: In Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lectures on Literature”, on the chapter on
Dickens (Bowers,p.120), he notes that Krook “comes slowly up, with his
green-eyed cat following at his heels” he adds: “All cats have green eyes –
but notice how green these eyes are owing to the lighted candle slowly
ascending the stairs.” […] In RLSK we encounter a vanishing cat with
“celadon” eyes ( a bluish/green/grey colored porcelain), so it seems that VN
admitted variations in feline eye-coloring. Why then did VN assure his
students that “all cats have green eyes”?

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