Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023439, Wed, 31 Oct 2012 22:14:36 -0200

Re: Vane Sisters precedent
Matt, wonderful sleuthing and literally marvellous coincidences.

For what it's worth:
No climatic upheaval around me to give me time to check a recollection - related to laurels and to Nabokov . I may be totally mistaken and the tip worthless, though. Isn't "The Laurels" one of the addresses published in VN's & E.Wilson's correspondences? Once (through the internet) I glanced at the reproduction of various Nabokov envelopes with different (and curious) addresses, perhaps that's where I found it (& not only from one of Agatha Christie's novels, I hope.).
Anyway, it was great fun to read about Myers amd Mrs. Verall..
Jansy Mello
-----Mensagem Original-----
De: Roth, Matthew
Enviada em: quarta-feira, 31 de outubro de 2012 12:21
Assunto: [NABOKV-L] Vane Sisters precedent

Dear list,

Hurricane Sandy allowed me the leisure to catch up on some old research. A tangle of associations led me back to a report from the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, vol. 27 (1915). The experiment described there involved a number of SPR automatists who claimed to be channeling (independent of one another) messages from a number of erudite spirits, including F.W.H. Myers. You'll recall that Myers (former head of the SPR and author Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death) contributes a poem in the séance scene in "The Vane Sisters." According to the Proceedings, one of the SPR sitters, Mrs. Piper, recorded a message from Myers which said "I gave Mrs. Verrall laurel wreath." Mrs. Verrall was another SPR automatist, and when they checked her scripts written during the same time period (but supposedly without knowledge of Mrs. Piper's scripts) they found that, three weeks prior to Mrs. Piper's message, she had written a number of lines containing references to laurels and laurel wreaths. This seems to me quite similar to the situation in VN's story, where spirits take credit for images given previously to a writer.


Matt Roth

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