Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024711, Mon, 21 Oct 2013 11:54:10 -0700

Taking Humbert and Quilty Singularly
To the List,

Just found this response to Mary Efremov's challenge among the drafts. Sorry that it didn't get sent in a more timely manner. Mary thought I had "got the wrong Quilty" when I posited that Ivor Quilty was the more probable child molester (than either Humbert or Clare). 

Dear Mary,

What I meant to say was that the perhaps too glamorous Clare Quilty does not exist, except in Humbert's false or perhaps better say pseudo confession. I am suggesting that, just as in Pale Fire the perhaps too glamorous Charles Kinbote is an aspect of Shade and has no independant existence, Ivor (the dentist) Quilty, is the the only Quilty, and therefore the only pedophile who molests Lolita. Clare Quilty, like Vivian Darkbloom, is then a figment of Humbert's guilt-ridden imagination. In this new interpretation, Humbert's guilt is the result of his failure to protect Lolita from Ivor Quilty.

Then I further ask -- if indeed Humbert is only one Humbert and Quilty is only one Quilty then ... what? 

You must understand that I am asking these questions in a speculative (mirroring?) sort of mood. Can't I then further ask, if Nabokov could create a first-person pedophile narrator without himself being a pedophile then, as worlds regress, could it not also be that his creation has himself created a first person pedophile narrator of a fiction entitled Confessions of a White Widowed Male. Speculatively speaking, of course. 

Jansy recently brought to our attention Don Johnson's Worlds in Regression, the title of which I seem to recall refers to VN's image of his works as paintings hanging somewhere in the ether for the viewer to contemplate - outside of time as it were. I have been attempting to do this, to put aside detailed analyses and close readings, and simply contemplate what I know of this and other works by Nabokov, and wonder if we haven't missed something.


From: Mary H. Efremov <mbutterfly549@AOL.COM>;
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] News from France
Sent: Sun, Oct 6, 2013 3:51:30 PM

Google Search the archive Contact the Editors Visit "Nabokov Online Journal" Visit Zembla View Nabokv-L Policies Manage subscription options Visit AdaOnline View NSJ Ada Annotations Temporary L-Soft Search the archive
All private editorial communications are
read by both co-editors.

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu
Visit Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
View Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com

Manage subscription options: http://listserv.ucsb.edu/