Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023778, Sat, 16 Mar 2013 11:09:49 -0700

Re: query: Humbert's stunt doubles
Dear Jansy,

It's funny, but I never noticed these whatchamacallums in relation to Humbert,
but Humbert did himself use them in describing his wife, Charlotte. One of the
highlights of Stanley Kubrick's film is when Charlotte, played by the
incomparable (hmm) Shelley Winters, finds Humbert's 'journal' and reads his
descriptions of her (there were a series, "the big momma" is the one that sticks
in my mind).

What a performance.

I googled "appositive phrase" and it's not quite what we are talking about [ex.:
"the cockroach, an insect ..." - I kid you not, google it and see]. Perhaps
someone more grammatically knowledgeable can enlighten us.

Well, googling further, I found part of the answer: Appositive phrases are like
the “stunt doubles” of English. They act as the same person, doing the job the
original couldn’t. Take this sentence, for example: Jack, the barber, had cut
Bobby’s hair. The noun is “Jack,” and the appositive phrase is “the barber.” By
just using the word “Jack,” the writer doesn’t tell that Jack is a barber. So,
because the original “actor,” couldn’t perform that scene, the “double” had to
fill in.

But the "best answer" is:

Appositive phrase. Appositives give more information about their antecedent
(what they refer to). There are two kinds of appositives: essential and
non-essential. Essential appositives are, of course, essential to clarifying
their antecedent (usually a noun). For example:Ivan the Terrible ruled Russia.
"The Terrible" is the appositive tells you more about Ivan. It's essential
because it tells you which Ivan it was; without it, you have no way of knowing.
Non-essential appositives can be left out of the sentence without changing the
meaning and are set off by commas.

From: Jansy <jansy@AETERN.US>
Sent: Fri, March 15, 2013 11:58:30 AM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Desultory query: Humbert Humbert's appositives

While I was going through "Lolita" ( searching for references to ombre,
hombre, umber) my attention was called to the list of appositives used
to qualify Humbert Humbert, like those adjectives that are appended to the
names of heroes, knights, royalty (one third begin with the letter H). Their
appearance in the text is not regular (it's to be found mainly in the first
chapters and I didn't check to see if related to the diary he kept)

Does anyone know about any article related to this subject that could send us a
reference or link?

Humbert, the Terrible and Humbert, the Small
Humbert, le Bel
Humbert, the Hoarse
Humbert, the Wounded Spider
Humbert, the Humble
Humbert, the Hummer
Humbert, the Hound
Humbert, the CubusHumbert, the popular butcher

PS: I hope I got the correct word for "appositive"
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