Dear Nabokovians and Fans of Nabokov Worldwide:
Last year at this time, I sent you holiday greetings with a message of hope via Nabokov’s short story “Christmas.” This year, I send you my very best holiday and new-year wishes via the following elusive lines from “Lance,” a story about a young astronaut’s journey into deep space and his old parents’ efforts to cope with their anxieties that this journey produces. Lance returns safely to earth but tells his parents that he is “going back in November.”
The lines below seem fitting for this year’s perplexities, anxieties, and hopes. May 2022 bring us to the end of this pandemic of ours and allow us to reconnect in person and in joy.
The field glass is not much good, the chart is all crumpled and damp, and: “You do not hold the flashlight properly”—this to Mrs. Boke.
Draw a deep breath. Look again.
There, to the right, is the Bridge of the Sword leading to the Otherworld (“dont nus estranges ne retorne”). Lancelot crawls over it in great pain, in ineffable anguish. “Thou shalt not pass a pass that is called the Pass Perilous.” But another enchanter commands: “You shall. You shall even acquire a sense of humor that will tide you over the trying spots.”
My best to you all,
Dana (General Editor of TheNabokovian.org)