In a message dated 29/05/2008 23:54:41 GMT Standard Time, jansy@AETERN.US writes:
Anthony Stadlen [answering "A real scientist would search for other numerical references ( twelve, fourteen, twenty, ninety-two...) ... A terrible woman aged forty, or a man? Forty diamonds, forty lies, forty thieves?] added another example of "forty" from "Signs and Symbols" and promised a feed-back about the meeting held in London with the final disclosure about this short-story: Yes, brother Isaac was "a real American of almost forty years standing."  This is one of the peculiarities of Nabokov's style. It plays with what in Gestalt theory is called "closure effect": when people tend to remember information that remains incomplete, vague, expecting it to "close". In VN it almost never closes
I swear that I am not trying to tantalise. Jennifer Coates, my new-found neighbour who was the "mystery" speaker at the seminar of 11 May, certainly did not claim to have a "final disclosure" or "closure". She did make a contribution to a possible answwer to the question of what Nabokov meant by the "inside" story of "Signs and Symbols". She asks readers to be patient while she works on her idea and writes it up. I shall be writing a little about the seminar soon, when I have dealt with some unexpected difficulties that have occurred elsewhere. But please do not expect anything remotely like "closure".
Anthony Stadlen   
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