Bruce Stone: There's a
reference to a Hoffmann Street in "A Nursery Tale." The street is fairly
significant in the story. Frau Monde (the devil) has chosen a house on that
street as the site for the story's climactic finish, and it's there that
Erwin, the protagonist, asks for directions from a "dummylike chauffeur"
who tells him that he has reached his destination.
JM: Interesting ( almost
"hidden") information, thank you!
Nabokov once referred to Erwin's mistaken choice ( of his first,
but also his last girl) in connection to "Lolita". He
also changed the original title ("Skazka"), which had
been designated, at first, as a "fairy-tale," another
pregnant word Hoffmann's "Automata," and Dr. Coppelius's
dolls ("Der Sandmann") have recently reappeared in a different sort of
"fairy-tale." Joyce Carol Oates' in "Wild Nights!" describes a couple
who decides to acquire an "EDickinsonRepliLuxe" to bring home to live with
them. In Oates's tale, although the husband prefers a
"body/soul" replication of Babe Ruth or Van Gogh, Mrs. Krim's choice
prevails and they set their heartss upon an ethereal Emily Dickinson
Would I have dared to carry home a VladNabokovRepliLuxe, to watch him
fill his note-cards with pencil scribblings and, perhaps, witness
him complete TOoL? (he'd be protected by copyrights, though, and impossible
to buy). Oates' inventiveness allows the customers to decide
upon ordering their favorite painter, author or athlete,
either as a small child or as a full grown person. Nabokov, as a
boy, programmed to react to the world as the real Nabokov would have
responded... what a story!