Dear list,
I've been doing some image-collecting in VN's works and thought I'd share what I've found (all emphases mine):
LitD: "He [Albinus] had come in at the end of a film: a girl was receding among tumbled furniture before a masked man with a gun."  Context: Albinus' first contact with Margo Peters.
"Double Monster": "With the kind of unrestrained, ignorant, passionately communicative folks that surrounded us, the highly vocal household just beyond the limits of her tumbled bed must, surely, have told her at once that something had gone dreadfully wrong."  Context: Lloyd & Floyd's mother, who has been raped, on her birthing/death bed. (I tend to think, btw, that she was raped by her father and not by some traveling taxidermist.)
Lolita: Ch. 16: "The hollow of my hand was still ivory-full of Lolita--full of the  feel of  her pre-adolescently incurved back, that ivory-smooth, sliding sensation of her skin through the thin frock that I had worked up  and  down  while  I
held  her.  I  marched  into  her  tumbled  room, threw open the door of the closet, and plunged into a heap of crumpled things  that  had  touched  her
"The Vane Sisters": "Cynthia led me upstairs to a chilly little bedroom, just to show me, as if I were the  police  or  a  sympathetic  Irish neighbor, two empty pill bottles and the tumbled bed from which a tender, inessential body, that D. must have known down to its last velvet detail, had been already removed."  Context: Sybil's bed after her affair and suicide.
Pale Fire: "She'd criticize / Ferociously our projects, and with eyes / Expressionless sit on her tumbled bed / Spreading her swollen feet, scratching her head..."  Context: Shade's description of Hazel
Pale Fire: C79: "The wise at nightfall praise the day, / The wife when she has passed away, / The ice when it is crossed, the bride / When tumbled, and the horse when tried."  Context: W.F. Kirby's (maybe) translation of the Zemblan counterpart to the Elder Edda.
ADA: 357.16-19: "...Van reclined, pouting pensively, pensively caressing the pretty head on his chest, flooded by the black hair of a much younger sister or cousin of the wretched florinda on the tumbled bed."  Context: Van in a brothel with young Ada/Adora. The "florinda" is a pregnant prostitute, smoking and "scratching her brown groin."
Is there a thread that runs though all of these tumblings? I believe so. In each case, except for that of Hazel, there is an obvious sexual context. More specifically, these tumbled beds and rooms appear in the context of an older man's sexual affair with a young woman or child. There is a criminal element to several of the images--most undisguised in LitD, but also present in "Double Monster" and Lolita.  In two cases, the tumbled bed holds a woman who is pregnant (or has just given birth) as the result of an illicit coupling.
The two occurrences of "tumbled" in PF are interesting because the first occurrence does not seem to have this sexual connotation while the second occurrence is the only one in which "tumbled" is a direct metonymy for sexual intercourse. I would like to suggest that VN is telling us something about how to interpret that word. Hazel's tumbled bed is presented to us along with her "swollen feet." Given that the Greek word for "swollen feet" is oedipus, we perhaps should consider ways in which Hazel's tumbled bed resembles the other tumblings in VN's works.
Matt Roth


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