NABOKV-L post 0022708, Sun, 15 Apr 2012 10:34:17 -0400

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SIGHTINGS: Victor's poem in PNIN and other observations
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Jansy Mello sends in these fish from the strands of the net:

Mona Lisa Posted on April 11, 2012 by rmc02010
blogs.pomona.edu/rust185-2012s/2012/04/11/mona-lisa/

On page 98, Victor submits a poem to his school magazine under the
pseudonym Moinet, with the motto ‘Bad reds should all be avoided; even
if carefully manufactured they are still bad’. This is ”quoted from an
old book on the technique of painting but smacking of a political
aphorism”

Leonardo! Strange diseases
strike at madders mixed with lead:
nun-pale now are Mona Lisa’s
lips that you had made so red.

Victor is fascinated by color, and his teacher Lake tells him that the
color spectrum is more like a spiral than a circle, with the rainbow
starting in a slightly different place when you cycle back around (this
is a bit like the cyclical nature of the book). Victor’s color in
general seems to be greenish-blue (the glass bowl he sends Pnin, for
example), which would be nearly the opposite the dark red of madder. In
fact, dark red is basically glossed over in Lake’s modified color wheel:
there is cadmium red, but then you reach “…cobalt blues and violets, at
which point the sequence does not grade into red again, but passes into
another spiral, which starts with a kind of lavender gray and goes on to
Cinderella shades…” which is the glassy blue again. So what’s wrong with
red? It looks like there’s a little communism joke here, but maybe
there’s more. Victor’s poem at least suggests that red is not an
enduring color, and even has a kind of poisonous association (diseases,
lead).

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