CK: Although as Jansy well
knows, Ada is my least favorite VN novel, now that my name has come up, I may as
well follow it by sticking my own nose in and ask the as yet unasked question:
why does Ada put those larvae (which larvae, by the way - - do we know?) in with
Krolik's body? Any theories (I have one of my own, of
Alexey Sklyarenko (to Carolyn):"First
of all, not "larvae," but pupae (a different stage in the metamorphosis of
insects): "after Dr Krolik died (in 1886) of a heart attack in his garden, she
[Ada] had placed all her live pupae in his open coffin where he lay, she said,
as plump and pink as in vivo." (1.35). I wouldn't build a theory on this,
because elsewhere Ada gives a different version of the end of her childhood
passion for "everything that crawls:" "What had she actually done with the poor
worms, after Krolik's untimely end?'Oh, set them free' (big vague gesture),
'turned them out, put them back onto suitable plants, buried them in the pupal
state, told them to run along, while the birds are not looking - or, alas,
feigning not to be looking..." (1.31)....In Blok's Incognita (the poem directly
alluded to in Ada: 3.3) there are lines: И пьяницы с глазами кроликов/ In vino
veritas кричат./And drunks with the eyes of rabbits/cry out: "In vino
JM: Pale Fire:"IPH/ was
a larvorium and a violet." ADA's IF:
"my dream is to have a special Institute of
Fritillary larvae and violets." An
unmistakable link bt. larvae and the
Nabokov plays with Krolik/Crawly" and
the French "rampent." Sklyarenko's link to Blok introduces "rabbits"
and I don't remember exactly how, Krolik is substituted by or associated to
Lapin (cunning rabbits).
I wouldn't give up the link with larvae (worms?) or pupae,
Carolyn, if one considers the original meaning of the word as "masks, evil
spirits, lemures," or mythological sejourns in Hades, to haunt Krolik.
Sklyarenko's talents could unearth, exhume perhaps, any indication
that Krolik might stand for VN's Uncle Ruka. It would explain why, as I see it,
Ada wants to damn Krolik's soul to hell, for ever.
* - ADA: "And
speaking of evolution...a ‘primitive’ form of Time in which, say, the Past was
not clearly differentiated from the Present, so that past shadows and shapes
showed through the still soft, long, larval ‘now’?"
[...] "The Texture of Time (1924)..., she said, always reminded
her, in some odd, delicate way, of the sun-and-shade games she used to play as a
child in the secluded avenues of Ardis Park. She said she had been somehow
responsible for the metamorphoses of the lovely larvae that had woven the silk
of ‘Veen’s Time’ (as the concept was now termed in one breath, one breeze, with
‘Bergson’s Duration,’ or ‘Whitehead’s Bright Fringe’)."
In Speak Memory, or perhaps in SO or even RLSK (I
didn't check), the image of the transparent shapes of the past shining
through "a larval now" has been mentioned, too.