Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023487, Thu, 29 Nov 2012 17:03:20 -0200

Re: THOUGHTS: Nattochdag, Flatman addendums
Matt Roth: "I recently re-read two excellent articles from The Nabokovian and wanted to fill in a few lucanae found therein. The first article, by Charles W. Harrison, from 1997, contains a good deal of interesting history centering on the Nattochdag lineage in Sweden. CWH suspects that Nabokov may have gleaned the Nattochdag name from the Adelskalendar, a directory of Swedish nobility, and/or from Isak Denison's Seven Gothic Tales [ ]VN, at this date, was still working on Shade's poem. He had already written about Hazel's drowning in the lake, but he had not yet given her a name, in writing at least. One wonders if Rolf's "hazelbushes" were influential? On the other hand, VN first wrote about Dr. Nattochdag, in the scene from the Foreword (p. 24-25), on March 12, 1961, about a month after receiving the letter from Rolf..".//The second article, from 2000, is by Ward Swinton and concerns Kinbote's mention of the poet Flatman[ ] What I find most interesting is the notion that Browning was using Flatman's quip metaphorically to represent, in a sense, his own disappearance-the disappearance of a king likened to the disappearance of a poet. This certainly seems to fit with various aspects of the Kinbote-Shade relationship in PF"

Jansy Mello: Impressive research, MR, as usual!
Personally, I prefer to think that the name "Hazel" gets its inspiration from various sources, one re-inforcing the other [including Haze, Dolores, the famous lines from Lord A.Tennyson, the mystical associations to the hazel tree, the description of the color of his eyes in a passport (hazel brown),aso], because it seems closer to what Sebastian Knight (and Nabokov) describes as the multinear workings of their associations.*

btw: The name isn't Denison, but Dinesen (i.e, Karen Blixen, whose novels inspired at least two excelent movies: Out of Africa and Babette's Feast).

On the fun part, I recently heard those lines about vanishing kings in another CSI episode (which I cannot place, sorry!) : "cons don't die, they simply disappear"

* - "...he knew that his slightest thought or sensation had always at least one more dimension than those of his neighbours..." [ ] "Most people live through the day with this or that part of their mind in a happy state of somnolence... in my case all the shutters and lids and doors of the mind would be open at once at all times of the-day. Most brains have their Sundays, mine was even refused a half-holiday. This state of constant wakefulness was extremely painful not only in itself, but in its direct results. Every ordinary act which, as a matter of course, I had to perform, took on such a complicated appearance, provoked such a multitude of associative ideas in my mind, and these associations were so tricky and obscure, so utterly useless for practical application, that I would either shirk the business at hand or else make a mess of it out of sheer nervousness" [ ] "At times he felt like a child given a farrago of wires and ordered to produce the wonder of light. And he did produce it...at other times he would be worrying the wires for hours in what seemed the most rational way - and achieve nothing." (RLSK) These quotes are almost apt, but there's a paragraph which escaped me and it demonstrates this state of affairs with greater clarity.

While I was searching through RLSK I found a paragraph that foretells Shade's insight about the patterns in life. I think VN is alluding to Baudelaire's poem "Correspondances" when he writes about the conversing trees and the gestures of their language.
"The answer to all questions of life and death, 'the absolute solution' was written all over the world he had known: it was like a traveller realizing that the wild country he surveys is not an accidental assembly of natural phenomena, but the page in a book where these mountains and forests, and fields, and rivers are disposed in such a way as to form a coherent sentence; the vowel of a lake fusing with the consonant of a sibilant slope; the windings of a road writing its message in a round hand, as clear as that of one's father; trees conversing in dumb-show, making sense to one who has learnt the gestures of their language.... Thus the traveller spells the landscape and its sense is disclosed, and likewise, the intricate pattern of human life turns out to be monogrammatic, now quite clear to the inner eye disentangling the interwoven letters, And the word, the meaning which appears is astounding in its simplicity: the greatest surprise being perhaps that in the course of one's earthly existence, with one's brain encompassed by an iron ring, by the close-fitting dream of one's own personality - one had not made by chance that simple mental jerk, which would have set free imprisoned thought and granted it the great understanding...Thus, a cherry stone and its tiny shadow which lay on the painted wood of a tired bench, or a bit of tom paper, or any other such trifle out of millions and millions of trifles grew to a wonderful size. Remodelled and re-combined, the world yielded its sense to the soul as naturally as both breathed."

Correspondances : Charles Baudelaire (excerpts)

"La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers
Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles ;
L'homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles
Qui l'observent avec des regards familiers.

Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent
Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité,
Vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté,
Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent..."

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