Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024626, Thu, 26 Sep 2013 13:43:16 -0300

Re: [Thoughts] Art's higher level
Jansy Mello: "Remaining true to what C.Kunin aptly named "Nabokovian specs", I did a google-search after Romanticism soon after I finished watching the so-so movie: The Romantics, a 2010[ ] I've never felt great interest in Nabokov's insistence on the sibling incest theme [ ] Now, however, a question became possible: "Did Nabokov employ incest in his novels as a deliberately romantic nuance? [ ]Was his intention only to parody Romantic poets ...?""

A second random encounter, during an informal talk about "courtly love and Shakespeare's baudy ballads," today, led me to a relationship, or so it seems to me, hinted at by Nabokov in RLSK (and perhaps in other novels, too) and in ADA between gallant lovers, troubadours, Shakespeare and later Romantics.
In aDA II, chapter 7 all these elements can be felt, in a great mix.
Unable to unravel them alone, I bring up a selection of what appears to be more pertinent to my case (Ardis I, an imaginary country like the earlier Zembla, or even arcadic New Wye, may offer another kind of imaginary but also metaphorical maps, illustrating the steps a pupil must follow to reach a sacred goal)

Here are the elements from ADA, or Ardor:

"And let's not forget that a copperhead of eight was also ambushed in the brush." "Art my foute. This is the hearse of ars, a toilet roll of the Carte du Tendre!* I'm sorry you showed it to me. That ape has vulgarized our own mind-pictures. I will either horsewhip his eyes out or redeem our childhood by making a book of it:
Ardis, a family chronicle." 406.15 (Ada Online, chapter 7, part II)
"She had never realized, she said again and again (as if intent to reclaim the past from the matter-of-fact triviality of the album), that their first summer in the orchards and orchidariums of Ardis had become a sacred secret and creed, throughout the countryside. Romantically inclined handmaids, whose reading consisted of Gwen de Vere** and Klara Mertvago***, adored Van, adored Ada, adored Ardis's ardors in arbors. Their swains, plucking ballads on their seven-stringed Russian lyres under the racemosa in bloom or in old rose gardens (while the windows went out one by one in the castle), added freshly composed lines - naive, lackey-daisical, but heartfelt - to cyclic folk songs #. Eccentric police officers grew enamored with the glamour of incest. Gardeners paraphrased iridescent Persian poems about irrigation and the Four Arrows of Love. Nightwatchmen fought insomnia and the fire of the clap with the weapons of Vaniada's Adventures. Herdsmen, spared by thunderbolts on remote hillsides, used their huge 'moaning horns' as ear trumpets to catch the lilts of Ladore. Virgin chatelaines in marble-floored manors fondled their lone flames fanned by Van's romance. And another century would pass, and the painted word would be retouched by the still richer brush of time. " ch 7,II

There are references galore (I hope I use the word correctly) to .François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand, the founder of Romanticism in French literature, in this same chapter that brings new age troubadours ("cyclic folk songs" ..."the Four Arrows of Love"...), Shakespeare (de Vere) and courtly love (la Carte du Tendre).

Priscilla Meyer considers "the complexity of Nabokov's careful construction of themes of magic and the transcendent." (Black and Violet Words, Despair and The Real Life of Sebastian Knight as Doubles, P. Meyer, NS #4, 38, n.5, p.47). In one of her examples we learn that Sebastian's older friend "Alexis Pan's best work is a translation into Russian of Keats' "La belle dame sans merci"[...], in which a faery Lady of the Meads seduces a knight.". Meyer compares Sebastian's "thin mournful and silent figure"(181) under the thrall of a Russian siren, to Keats' "knight alone and palely loitering." However, as I see it, in the same way that, in RLSK, Hamlet is mentioned through Polonius and an even more ancient author may be equally protected from our sight by an arras, it is also possible that Keats' explicit "La belle dame sans merci" hides a more distant reference. In History of English Poetry from the Twelfth to the Close of the Sixteenth Century, Thomas Warton, B.D, 1871 (available on-line), wrote: "The later prose work called the "Testament of Love" (which has been mistakenly attributed to Chaucer), is also formed on this philosophy of gallantry. It is a lover's parody of the work of Boethius "De Consolatione." [and he adds: The] "poem called "La Belle Dame sans Merci"- and [the] "Assembly of Ladies" are from the same school." ( a 1526 edition by Pynson includes "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" among the poems written by Chaucer.). At Trinity College Nabokov took courses in French and Russian literature. B.Boyd [RY, 174] writes: "In his formal studies at Cambridge Nabokov's greatest gain was probably the deep love he acquired for the medieval masterpieces he may not otherwise have encountered: Aucassin and Nicolette and the work of Chrétien de Troyes- -that could share a shelf in his mind with the medieval Russian Song of Igor's Campaign, dear to him from schooldays." If VN enjoyed Chrétien de Troyes, he must have had some acquaintance with another distinguished medieval French troubadour, Adam de la Halle. Although Chrétien and Adam were not included on Sebastian's fictional shelf in Cambridge (perhaps only on VN's mental shelf) they are represented, indirectly, by Malory and his tales of chivalry and courtly love. The inclusion of Adam de la Halle creates a dimension both Chrétien and Malory lack: the profane world of satire and down-to-earth malice, as it appears in "Cock Robin", a nursery-rhyme supposedly mentioned by Sebastian Knight: Adam de la Halle (1230-1288), a poet and musician from the city of Arras, in France, was born during the decline of courtly love refinements and at a time when knightly rituals were disappearing. Almost a century before, Chrétien de Troyes, the French trouvère who found inspiration in Anglo-Norman poems, became one of the best representatives of medieval literature on Arthurian subjects. Sir Thomas Malory's (1405-1471) "Le Morte D'Arthur," written almost two hundred years later, became the final interpretation of the Arthurian myth before the emergence of the English Renaissance. As elusive and mysterious as Sebastian Knight, Malory's inclusion on Sebastian's book-shelves indicates Nabokov's fascination with chivalry and with Chrétien de Troyes' shining Perceval. Wedged between these two writers, Adam de la Halle's earthy satires strike a discordant note, but one which might have equally appealed to Nabokov at that time, by allowing him to contrast the lofty ideals in poems that sing of irreparable losses or unattainable love, and the less exalted demands of everyday reality and married life. Except for their link with SK's mockery of standard murder stories present in "Cock Robin Hits Back," (later published as "The Prismatic Bezel"), it is difficult to ascertain why Nabokov selected these rhymes in particular, unless he wanted to bring together English and French medieval texts through his reference to Robin [ ] Besides Nabokov's parody of mystery stories, we find a way to notice Sebastian Knight's satirical conjunction between modern detective-novel stereotypes and the bawdy messages from musical dramas, like Adam de la Halle's. It also suggests the Elizabethan tactics of a "play-within-a-play," used to trap a murderer into confessing his crime, as in Shakespeare's tragedy of revenge. (this paragraph was ready-made, since I extracted it frommy note "When a Clown Develops Wings," published in "The Nabokovian".n.62,Spring 2009).

nb: the author who first acquainted me with "La Carte du Tendre" was Jacques Lacan (probably in his innaugural seminaire, or on the one about "Transference love") and I was curious enough to read about its French representatives and samples of their ballads (more than thirty years ago!). Then I found ancient poems, related to courly love, by various Portuguese troubadours and... heavens... the link bt. the " Oxford Bawd" and the maliciously "sacred/profane" steps for the acolyte is clearly present (unfortunately I lost track of all these books).

* Country of Tenderness (wiki) The Map of Tendre (Carte de Tendre or Carte du Tendre) was a French map of an imaginary land called Tendre produced by several hands (including Catherine de Rambouillet). It appeared as an engraving (attributed to François Chauveau) in the first part of Madeleine de Scudéry's 1654-61 novel Clélie. The map represents the path towards love according to the précieuses of the time period.The map shows a geography entirely based around the theme of love according to the Précieuses of that era: the river of Inclination flows past the villages of "Billet Doux" (Love Letter), "Petits Soins" (Little Trinkets) and so forth. 'The way through this pastoral country of the affections begins at Nouvelle Amitié and leads (ignoring dead-ends such as the Lake of Indifference) by three alternative routes to eitherTendre-sur-Reconnaissance, Tendre-sur-Inclination, or Tendre-sur-Estime. Passion by contrast was left on the fringes, where 'lies La Mer Dangereuse, rocky but otherwise uncharted, and beyond that again are Terres Inconnues '
Cf. also Syncope: The Philosophy of Rapture books.google.com.br/books?isbn=0816619778 Catherine Clément - 1994 - ?Philosophy "The French says le chateau de cartes du Tendre, playing on cartes ("cards") and ...homosexual undercurrent of courtly love: "I made an allusion to courtly love, ..."

**Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship: (Wikipedia) - "Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, is the most popular alternative candidate for the author behind the alleged pseudonym, Shakespeare. The Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship holds that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford wrote the plays and poems traditionally attributed to William Shakespeare. Since the 1920s, the Oxfordian theory has been the most popular alternative Shakespeare authorship theory...[ ] The most compelling evidence against the Oxfordian Theory is de Vere's death in 1604, since the generally accepted chronology of Shakespeare's plays places the composition of approximately twelve of the plays after that date. [ ]Oxfordians believe the reason so many of the "late plays" show evidence of revision and collaboration is because they were completed by other playwrights after Oxford's death.

***Brian Boyd: "It is no accident that the series of those affected by the "sacred secret and creed" begins with "romantically inclined handmaids," for handmaid Blanche is reading Les Amours du Docteur Mertvago when Van first arrives at Ardis; ot that the list continues with "swains" and "nightwatchmen," for Blanche observes Van and Ada on her way to her own trysts with swains ....[ ]or that the series ends with "virgin châtelaines," im mocking echo...
Blanche is central to the mysths of Van and Ada's love at Ardis that saturate the Ladore countryside and "Ada" itself. But she also qualifies the myths she propagates..." { ] Stalking Nabokov, selected essays See also: Ada, the Bog and the Garden: or, Straw, Fluff, and Peat:-

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