Carolyn] I think Shade uses preterist in the sense of "one whose
chief interest or pleasure is in the past." This is the first definition in
Webster's 2nd[...].It seems to me that Shade is here asserting that one can be
resurrected before physical death, just as one can die before the body dies.
Notice that he doesn't ask, as we might expect, what moment Death chooses;
rather he asks when, during the process of decay-in-life, might one "escape"?
Escape into what? [...] I'd be interested to hear what others think Shade means
in lines 209-212.[ to Jansy] you said that you thought VN read Freud in the
German. I was under the impression VN intentionally refused to learn German
while living in Berlin.
JM:Thanks for bringing up
the Webster's 2nd definition of a "preterist".
I thought the word had been a
neologism that was created by VN ( ie: that it carried a
different meaning from the religious sect's "preterist" in
his relationship to past and future events). So, it may not have been
a "neologism" after all.
( See, I had the impression that Nabokov had
been referring, under preterists, to people whose chief
interest lies not only in the past as "past", but also in how the
past is or may be experienced in the present, or set in relation to
other past, present and future events. This would serve to promote a
new re-experience of the past as it takes shape in the
VN based his use of "preterist" on the definition you quoted,
then his choice favored a definite past, a discarded and
useless "cold nest".
When I first read your comment I thought you
were describing an intuition of Shade's, something concerning a
"parallel universe" ( ie: indicating that the "escape" would lead
him into an atemporal bubble, while he remained
physically living in an objective, linear, historic dimension). Then I
realized you were speaking about
those actual, physical near-death experiences, like those
Shade had described in his poem.
Indeed, your interpretation matches the Webster 2nd definition of a "preterist".
Should we follow it, then the past will be
taken as an experience that belongs to memory and
to reminiscences, only. Therefore, it would be totally unrelated to any
Proustian "involuntary memory" or to Freud's original definition
of "transference" as " a re-edition of the past, in the present"
(btrw: my preterist mood rejects this very
objective admission, but it may be only a passing mood, not a conviction).
I'm sure Dmitri can shed more light
concerning the extent of Nabokov's familiarity with German -
but I think you are right and, therefore, Nabokov must have read
Strachey's translation (perhaps while he studied in England). I kinda hoped he'd read Freud in the