In a message dated 09/10/2006 00:06:54 GMT Standard Time, NABOKV-L@HOLYCROSS.EDU writes:
I am not too familiar with the forum's history, and no doubt someone has
noted that the number of lines - 999 - inverts, as is appropriate for a
novel structured on mirroring, the notorious number of Revelations 666,
denoting  the beast, who, among other things, has power over all tongues
(13:7). Many things can be deduced from this, given Nabokov's elusive
metaphysics, if the two numbers are related intentionally. 999 inverts
666, a number of apocalyptic closure as opposed to 999 which begs for an
extra digit, denied it, to achieve completion, and thus gestures towards
an open universe.etc etc
I did write to this forum on 23 December 2004 (after a discussion of Alexander Dolinin's essay on 'The Signs and Symbols in Nabokov’s “Signs and Symbols”') as follows:
<< I should like to thank Andrew Brown for his kind and considered response to what I wrote.

May I add: Whoever makes the third telephone call, the mere fact that the mother has pointed out the presumed error the girl is making focusses our attention (thanks to Alexander Dolinin) on the 6 that is being dialled, whether by one or two people, three times in succession. Three sixes could be understood either "Christianly" as 666 (i.e. Death) or "Jewishly" (by Gematria) as 6+6+6 = 18 = Chaim = Life (Hebrew). The sixes are thus completely ambiguous. One can deduce precisely nothing from them.

Surely both these symbolisms are beside the point, except the point that they and the other beside-the-point signs and symbols are, ultimately at least, beside the point.

My own point was simply that, while of course we don't know who was "really" making the third call, there is, corresponding to the boy's presumed "referential mania" of attributing human agency to non-human events and referring them to himself, a kind of reciprocal "NON-referential mania" into which we readers can be seduced by the story, whereby we overlook even the possibility that a post-midnight telephone call to his parents might originate from the boy himself as human agent. I wondered if this might have been one of VN's points, too. >>
Anthony Stadlen

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