Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024868, Sat, 7 Dec 2013 16:39:33 -0200

Re: Shelley on Mont Blanc... II
Barrie Akin: "... Thanks to both Jansy Mello and Anthony Stadlen for these nuggets, especially as the Jungfrau and lavatories bring John Shade’smountain/fountain confusion to mind!"

Jansy Mello: Fountains are important in various novels (remember the thirsty squirrel in a park, in Pnin?). Lavatories and water discharges may be heard in Lolita and they are glorified in Ada through mad Marina's delusions and, as an extension of that, as instrumental for "dorophones." (I never stopped to consider that and have only a vague recollection of how these operate). Thoughts, anyone?

Alfred Appel Jr. has interesting annotations for this one sentence in Lolita: "He did not use a fountain pen which fact, as any psychoanalyst will tell you, meant that the patient was a repressed undinist. One mercifully hopes there are water nymphs in the Styx."
One can hear a sort of "undinistic" instance in Ada...*

btw: This year's celebration by Montblanc (fountain pens, watches, aso) selected writer Honoré de Balzac** I have no idea if the firm has plans to pay an homage to V.Nabokov...

Water nymphs are present in at least one of VN's short-stories and somewhat ludicrously imaged in RLSK [cf. Priscilla Meyer. "Black and Violet Words: Despair and The Real Life of Sebastian Knight as Doubles." Nabokov Studies 4.1 (1997): 37-60, and another article related to Nina Rechnoi/Irina Guadanini which I was now unable to retrieve to bring up here]. Pushkin wrote about "Rusalka."

* - "Presently Mlle Larivière asked Ada to accompany her to a secluded spot. There, the fully clad lady, with her voluminous dress retaining its stately folds but grown as it were an inch longer so that it now hid her prunella shoes, stood stock-still over a concealed downpour and a moment later reverted to her normal height. On their way back, the well-meaning pedagogue explained to Ada that a girl’s twelfth birthday was a suitable occasion to discuss and foresee a thing which, she said, was going to make a grande fille of Ada any day now." (a girl's menses are frequently mentioned in Part I and here they seem to emerge in association to urine)

** - In the footsteps of Honoré de Balzac: With the new Writers Edition 2013, Montblanc pays tribute to Honoré de Balzac (1799 – 1850), the novelist and playwright who delivered an opus of nearly 100 novels and plays collectively known as “La Comédie Humaine”. Regarded as the father of realism, Balzac is admired for his vivid portrayal of 19th century society with all the complex human characters, objects and environments that made up this rapidly changing world.[ ] The Limited Edition reflects not only significant stages of Balzac’s life, the main inspiration for the design of this writing masterpiece comes from the Dandyism of 19th century European society, epitomized by the aesthetic decadence and individual elegance of Balzac for whom style was an existential imperative.The barrel of writing instrument features a precious black resin and grey lacquer with a guilloche refinement, which references the typical cutaway of the trousers favoured by refined Parisian gentlemen.

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