Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024677, Sun, 6 Oct 2013 11:51:30 -0400

Re: News from France
I think CK blames the wrong Quilty, and HH speaks of his passion so clearly, that he is the pedophile, unable to resist his longing,but alas, not the only one.

-----Original Message-----
From: Carolyn Kunin <chaiselongue@ATT.NET>
Sent: Sat, Oct 5, 2013 10:28 pm
Subject: [NABOKV-L] News from France

I revisited the musee Colette yesterday and was fortunate enough to be introduced to a visiting scholar. I asked her if anyone knew why mme Colette seduced her stepson. Turns out it was a real love match, an affair that lasted five years, after which Madame told him she had become too old for him, he needed to find someone to bear him children. He did successfully. But he never forgot Colette and was a constant visitor when in her old age she was confined to Palais Royal with crippling arthritis. He also became a brilliant thinker, check out Bertrand de Juvenal. Now what does all this have to do with us, you ask.

During the long drive north to Bayeux it occurred to me that maybe Humbert s memoirs of a white widowed male are just what he told Charlotte he was writing - notes for a novel. I used the wrong word. Not the memoirs, the Confessions! Yes, that's it. Confessions we know are often false. So assuming that Humbert s confessions to molesting Lolita are false, where does that leave us? perhaps she, having been molested by the late mr hayes, attempts to seduce humbert, but he resists, because he really does love her as a father should. Quilty, perhaps nothing more than the local dentist who has fallen for his little patient, is the villain and pederast. And Humbert's purpose is only to protect his daughter from Q. He fails and so takes on the guilt of the crimes to which he confesses. There is something very Pale Fire-ish to this solution, in fact if my new reading is what the old hoaxer had in mind, then Humbert Humbert = Vladimir Vladimirovich.

After all, if, as VN himself claimed, he could imagine the thoughts and feelings of a sexual deviant without being one, why should not his creation, Humbert, also be capable of it?

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