NABOKV-L post 0021010, Wed, 1 Dec 2010 13:57:27 -0200

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[NABOKOV-L] Hardy's "stillicide" and Robert Frost's "dewdrops
from the eaves...eavesdropping on a haze".
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Dear List,

Matthew Roth sent me a wonderful link (off List), through which I learned that Frost's poem about "eavesdropping" was published in the fifties. However, Matt notes that he doesn't see "anything here in terms of inspiration--just two poets latching onto the same metaphor."
http://books.google.com/books?id=47NFEPDDBMgC&pg=PA48&dq=%22cabin+in+the+clearing%22+frost&hl=en&ei=YFH2TKPjJsGclgeqsfDLBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22cabin%20in%20the%20clearing%22%20frost&f=false

Thank you, Matt, for the helpful information and links.
I copied its text from the related page, presenting the poem which, as I think, has been referenced by Kinbote (not by Shade, though), that master eavesdropper.
Here it is:

"Cabin in the Clearing,A, written about August 1950, was Frost's Christmas poem and was first published with a dedication to Frost's friend and publisher Alfred Edwards and appears in Frost's last collection, In the Clearing (1962), lending the collection its title.
Reginald Cook notes that Frost once described the poem as being "about knowing ourselves," a point that Richard Wilbur raises in his review of In the Clearing in the 25 March 1962 New York Herald Tribune. According to Linda Wagner, Wilbur refers to "A Cabin in the Clearing" as a "charming" conversation between the chimney smoke and garden mist, the result of which is a philosophical "clearing": " a little area of human coherence" and "clarification". As the smoke and mist eavesdrop on the conversation between the couple in the cabin, they realize, however, that the people in the cabin have not clarified their existence, but rather, through their talk and unrest, they continue to probe the mystery of who and where they are. Any clarification the people acquire, then, is gradual, gained through their continual learning and by asking "anyone there is to ask" and driven by their "fond faith" that "accumulated fact/ Will of itself take fire and light the world up."... The value of this continual searching is a theme that Frost seems to keep returning to and one that also informs earlier poems such as "Neither Out Far Nor in Deep."...

My own search led me to "Frost, Collected Poems, Prose,& Plays" (The Library of America). Its chronology only dates "A Cabin..." as of 1962, its publication coincident with the poet's birthday, March 26. I thought of my elaborate story about the two repetitive "bright" of Kinbote's ramblings almost as a prank (but I did enjoy the contrast between Frost's gnostic "kenome" and Shade's hope in a "web of sense" and an extraneous "plexed artistry" ( a Gnostic "pleroma"?), the two having arisen almost at the same time: a perfect "synchronicity" ( my vision is here in contrast to Roth's "just two poets latching onto the same metaphor.").

Also in 1962 Frost went to the Soviet Union and met Premier Nikita Kruschev, also "Anna Akhmatova, Yevgeny Yevtuschenko, and Andrei Voznensensky, as well as Andrei Tvardovsky..." Shade, despite his roots in New Hampshire, could never aspire to Frost's political significance and his place as the eldest, the heir, the "first-born" of Shade's (fictional) lineage.

For the heck of it, I read Frost's chronology for items about the year of 1959. I found out that Frost confessed he felt nervous to address the audience, present at his 85th birthday banquet, because of his predecessor's speech. Lionel Trilling "had remarked: 'The universe that he conceives is a terrifying universe... Read "Neither Out Far Nor In Deep", which often seems to me the most perfect poem of our time, and see if you are warmed by anything in it except the energy with which emptiness is perceived'."

Anyway, it is just possible that Nabokov had read Frost's 1950 Christmas Poem sometime before he had Kinbote pen his commentaries to Shade's "stillicide"...


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