Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025952, Wed, 21 Jan 2015 01:24:45 -0200

RES: [NABOKV-L] Darwin in Ada
V.Fet: I am attempting to explore importance of Darwin in Ada and other VN
writings (beyond Podvig/Glory). I am not specifically interested in
"Scrabble approach", but noticed
that both Demon and Dan Veen have nicknames starting with R, and thus
abbreviate to D. "R". Veen, or in Russian transliteration, D. R. Vin.
(English "R" is read as "ar"). Note hard "v" with which we Russians
customarily replace "w" in spoken English (e.g. I live in Vest
Wirginia)./Their grandfather is Erasmus Veen, who is easily interpreted as
Erasmus [Dar]vin./I wonder if anybody noticed this word play before. I
welcome any advice
on the subject./ Van and Ada thus are not just "children of Demon" but also
descendants of Darwin./"Descent with modification" is Darwin's original
formula of evolutionary change. Anybody would agree that, in the case of
Van and Ada, such modification, compared to direct ancestors, is profound.
It will not be inherited, I am afraid.

Jansy: Dear Vest Wirginian Professor,
For the first time I saw a clue about VN's insistence on Van's (biological)
sterility. What are the "profound modifications" you find in them, probably
enhanced by their parents close family ties?
I remember that there's a reference to Wallace (in a spiritualist session)
in "Pale Fire" but I never found any easy indication of Spencer (I'm mainly
considering his approach to "morality in nature").
Why do you think VN would be more exclusively interested in Darwin? Would
the play with D."R" Veen be indicative of "recessive traits"?

I'm daring to ask you these amateurish questions because I would like to
learn more about those subtle clues, like the one you seem to have
discovered just now, and to what they might be pointing at?

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