Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023685, Mon, 18 Feb 2013 12:47:38 -0300

Re: Dmitri’s Father ...

Sandy Pallot Klein sends http://www.upperleftedge.com/2013/02/16/dmitris-father/, posted by Frank_Lynch on February 16, 2013. The author remembers seeing Véra: "While I never spoke with her, I saw her sitting on stage far right with Vladimir (Professor Nabokov) at the podium three days a week lecturing on “Masters of European Fiction.” The main lecture room in Goldwin-Smith Hall on the Cornell University Arts quadrangle was then a big space. My memory of sixty years ago says he filled it with about three hundred people...."

Jansy Mello: Being unfamiliar with the Arts quadrangle in Cornell, the slight connection between "Goldwin-Smith Hall" and Pale Fire's Judge Goldsworth and Wordsmith College failed me until now ("Maybe some quirk in space/Has caused a fold or furrow to displace/ The fragile vista, the frame house between/Goldsworth and Wordsmith on its square of green").The lines about the Shade's frame house seem to partake of a "quirk in space," if I believe that Charles Kinbote's explanation is true. There's no other reference to Goldsworth by Shade, nor to any neighbor who is a judge.
CK: "Lines 47-48: the frame house between Goldsworth and Wordsmith - "The first name refers to the house in Dulwich Road that I rented from Hugh Warren Goldsworth, authority on Roman Law and distinguished judge. I never had the pleasure of meeting my landlord but I came to know his handwriting almost as well as I do Shade’s. The second name denotes, of course, Wordsmith University. In seeming to suggest a midway situation between the two places, our poet is less concerned with spatial exactitude than with a witty exchange of syllables invoking the two masters of the heroic couplet, between whom he embowers his own muse. Actually, the "frame house on its square of green" was five miles west of the Wordsmith campus but only fifty yards or so distant from my east windows."
According to CK, Shade "regaled me with a number of anecdotes concerning the judge’s dry wit and courtroom mannerisms; most of these anecdotes were doubtless folklore exaggerations, a few were evident inventions, and all were harmless. He did not bring up, my sweet old friend never did, ridiculous stories about the terrifying shadows that Judge Goldsworth’s gown threw across the underworld, or about this or that beast lying in prison and positively dying of raghdirst (thirst for revenge) — crass banalities circulated by the scurrilous and the heartless — by all those for whom romance, remoteness, sealskin-lined scarlet skies, the darkening dunes of a fabulous kingdom, simply do not exist. But enough of this..." Further on CK adopts Shade's "gradual" style when he repeats his observation about how he is shaping topographical ideas while confessing that he wishes "to convey, in making this reference to Wordsmith briefer than the notes on the Goldsworth and Shade houses, the fact that the college was considerably farther from them than they were from one another. It is probably the first time that the dull pain of distance is rendered through an effect of style and that a topographical idea finds its verbal expression in a series of foreshortened sentences." After all, the "dull pain of distance" is something that CK, rather than JS, would experience and try to express stylistically..

Did Charles Kinbote invent Judge Goldsworth? What other "Goldsworth" could Shade have intended to include in his poem? There's no other authority, beside CK's, that this character existed, or the anedoctes that might explain his murder motivated by a Zemblan "raghdirst."

btw (in connection to Gradus ad Parnassum): Search instruments led me to two kinds of butterflies related to the two summits in the Greek mountain range of Parnassus: Lycorea and Tithorea (and the frustrated attempt to work out a clear link to PF).
(a)The Harmonia Tiger-wing or Harmonia Tiger (Tithorea harmonia) is a species of butterflies belonging to the Nymphalidae family...
(b) Lycorea ceres. Orange and black tiger striped butterfly.or The Tropical Milkweed Butterfly (Lycorea halia), a species of nymphalid butterfly in the Danainae subfamily. As it happens, the only reference I located in ADA was to the Parnassiinae and Mademoiselle's inspiration for a pseudonym "A pale diaphanous butterfly with a very black body followed them and Ada cried ‘Look!’ and explained it was closely related to a Japanese Parnassian. Mlle Larivière said suddenly she would use a pseudonym when publishing the story." The diaphanous butterfly seem to be a bad omen, like Pale Fire's Vanessa, when Van feels that at "the moment his foot touched the pine-needle strewn earth of the forest road, a transparent white butterfly floated past, and with utter certainty Van knew that he had only a few minutes to live." . However, in retrospect I've started to suspect that Zemblan mirror-effects and imitators, involving the Vanessa, the Monarch (a King) and the Viceroy butterflies, are suggested in ADA!:.
."It was the newly described, fantastically rare vanessian, Nymphalis danaus Nab., orange-brown, with black-and-white foretips, mimicking, as its discoverer Professor Nabonidus of Babylon College, Nebraska, realized, not the Monarch butterfly directly, but the Monarch through the Viceroy, one of the Monarch’s best known imitators. In Ada’s angry hand..."

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