acknowledges... that he had lent some of his likes and dislikes to Shade
...how can lumping these things together constitute "speak[ing] of evil as none
has/ Spoken before"?... It is Nabokov's own endorsement of the list that is "the
real thing strange".
JM: I don't think Nabokov
considered Shade's urge "to speak of evil" as taking place on the same
level as his, and Shade's, dislike of swimming pools and jazz.
are ludicrously mingled to great effect: the "Newport
Frill" rhetoric of evil, his trivial dislikes, shaving procedures,
methods of composition...
Canto Four starts with a broad statement:
"Now I shall spy on beauty
as none has/ Spied on it yet. Now I shall cry out as/ None has cried out. Now I
shall try what none/ Has tried. Now I shall do what none has done./And speaking
of this wonderful machine:/ Iím puzzled by the difference between/ Two methods
Then, he promises "to
speak of evil and
despair/ As none has spoken./Five, six, seven, eight,/ Nine strokes are not
enough. Ten. I palpate." Finally, we get to "Now I shall speak of evil as none has/Spoken
before. I loathe such things as jazz..,"aso.
I doubt it that Nabokov had any intention of
engaging in any serious denunciation of "evil" at that point. These
are some of the lines in which I see an authorial intromission, and Shade
voicing VN's self-parody and his moments of playfulness in S.O (
just like it happened with the similarity bt. the sounds of "Hase" and