Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023380, Wed, 10 Oct 2012 14:20:22 -0300

Re: THOUGHT and Frost

RS Gwynn: One small point is worth noting: Dante's "shades" can foresee the future but have no knowledge of the present. To say that Aunt Maud could not send a warning, however garbled given her late-life aphasia, about a possible future event would be against the grain of a lot of literary and mythic "shadedom." I am trying to think of other writers (Homer, Vergil, and Shakespeare, of course) who employ prophetic ghosts. Pushkin? Gogol? What is the "ghost tradition" in Russian literature?

Jansy Mello: Among those writers (Homer, Vergil,Shakespeare) who employ prophetic ghosts, one may also consider the Portuguese Camões, in his epic poem "The Lusiads."
It would not be of interest to the VN-L readers, were it not for "Ada, or Ardor" and its artful "Mascodagama."
The poem describes and praises the feats of the Portuguese navigators, Vasco da Gama's voyages and his King. Its action takes place a hundred years before the time Camões was setting it in verse so, to be able to flatter his present Royalty, Vasco da Gama had to be able to see into the future (Camões's present). This was achieved by having the goddess Venus intervene and give Vasco da Gama a "Time Machine." (btw:I'm describing the process in a very loose way)

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