Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023360, Fri, 5 Oct 2012 17:54:40 +0000

Jansy: It might have been one of those ancient houses in New England

Jansy, it's a small point, but I think Jerry Friedman and I, in a series of posts a few years back, pretty firmly established that New Wye is not in New England but rather is located in the general vicinity of Harrisonburg, Virginia. https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A3=ind0803&L=NABOKV-L&E=8bit&P=274845&B=--&T=text%2Fhtml;%20charset=UTF-8&XSS=3&header=1

Barrie, your point about Aunt Maud's ghost is well taken. I have wondered the same thing. I also find it odd to conclude that the ghost is Aunt Maud (as most have) based upon the odd spelling of Hazel's message. Are we to believe that Maud is still suffering from her stroke after death, and that her inability to speak clearly extends to her spelling? Meanwhile, after Hazel dies she gets to become a beautiful butterfly? Death is awfully fickle! Kinbote imagines, I believe, that the ghost is Hentzner's, which makes more sense to me, since it is his barn and he used to sleep there. I know that both VN and Vera addressed the barn message in letters (VN to Field and Vera to a translator, maybe?). But I can't seem to find the text of those letters and don't know if either actually says that the ghost is Maud. It occurs to me that one could just as well conclude that the dancing spots had a rational source-say, headlights from passing cars shining through a knothole-and, by Nabokovian chance, happened to spell out the warning message. This would jibe with my sense that the poltergeist incidents were not, in fact, supernatural (if they happened at all) and were instead put on by Hazel.

Matt Roth

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