Matt Roth responding to Vitaly:


Perhaps VN is just making a dirty joke here, much in line with the Kiss Me Kate reference.  The secret, subterranean, back-door passageway, explored by King Charles and Oleg is depicted by Kinbote as a stylized anus, full of “blind pokings…magic apertures and penetrations, so narrow and deep as to drive one insane.”   So of course VN had the passage run beneath corialANUS LANE and tiMON (moan) ALLEY (later, we see the king and Oleg “moaning like doves”). 


Matt Roth


From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] On Behalf Of NABOKV-L, English
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 10:19 PM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Coriolanus in PF


Vitaly writes:

My question below was met with silence -- here's the bits I have:

"Timon" is the only Shakespeare's play without family ties, romantic affections, or women of any consequence.
This, along with Timon's misanthropy, must make "Timon" a Botkin's favorite.

"Coriolanus" was a favorite of T.S. Eliot who wrote a poem "Coriolan", and whom Hazel read.  It also serves as a bawdy rhyme in "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" ("Kiss Me Kate", 1948).
Where the leading lady's name is Lilli Vanessi.

The main character in "Coriolanus" has a 12-line monologue of heroic couplets when he's ill-at-ease  having to beg plebes for their votes, and this form is presumably considered below the classy unrhymed pentameter but not quite down to the plebeiean prose.

So to tie it together within the Hazel Hypothesis would go something like this:

As Botkin's psychogenic fugue is going strong, Hazel's spirit nudges him with various turns and details of the tale.  As this collaboration produces an important tunnel to a theater,  Botkin's favorite Shakespearian play, which he knows well in Russian and some Scandinavian, comes to be Kinbote's talisman, with Timon Alley over the tunnel thrown in.

Hazel, with her contribution, adds a "Coriolanus Lane", with name fresh to her from T.S. Eliot and Cole Porter (and with another Vanessa vibe).

Shade, after hearing Botkin's tale, steals Timon's words on reflections for the title of a new poem on reflections in love and death.

Shade also, when hearing of Coriolanus, recalls the play's demeaning attitude to rhymed couplets and decides to give this poetic form another life.  Lest "the dust on antique time would lie unswept".


on Oct 30 I wrote:
Coriolanus Lane is next to Timon Alley  over the passage to Iris Acht's dressing room.
Timon of Athens figures prominently in the poem and the commentary.  Where is Coriolanus?

Assuming Boyd's Hazel Hypothesis, what did Hazel's spirit try  to convey (to her father, presumably)
with this reference? From Timon we have imagery of reflected light, pale fire.  From Coriolanus I have nothing.

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