Barrie Akin: Alexey Sklyarenko cites:- 'Oh, Van, oh Van, we did not love her [Lucette] enough. That's whom you should have married, the one sitting feet up, in ballerina black, on the stone balustrade, and then everything would have been all right - I would have stayed with you both in Ardis Hall, and instead of that happiness, handed out gratis, instead of all that we teased her to death!' (5.6) [Emphasis added by me] Compare PF, Canto III, Lines 576-579: “….. And also blond/ But with a touch of tawny in the shade,/ Feet up, knees clasped, on a stone balustrade [  ] …”  And lines 585-586:“And she, the second love, with instep bare In ballerina black….” Interesting that VN uses the same image in both works.
Jansy Mello: What a great connection related to "the second love," in ADA and PF.  I wonder if the re-emergenet image is related to VN's love affair with Irina Guadanini* but, considering how VNabokov later coldly rejected any of her (indirect) pleas for financial help, I doubt it. 
"We did not love her enough...instead of that happiness..." is another interesting admission on Ada's part. 
Yesterday I read a very interesting article about love in "The Gift" by Jacqueline Hamrit: **

* - "A week after she joined him, Vladimir confessed to Vera that he was in the midst of a delirious love affair with a Paris-based Russian called Irina Yurievna Guadanini. He was still very much in the delicious daze of adultery. He could not shake off his infatuation and thought he would have to leave Vera./  Three years younger than Vera, Irina was a vivacious and highly emotional blonde, briefly married, now divorced. Her laugh was musical; she had a lively sense of humour; she took great joy in playing with words. Vladimir had told her of previous affairs - with a German girl met by chance in the Grunewald; a French girl for four nights in 1933; a tragic woman with exquisite eyes; a former student who had propositioned him; and three or four other meaningless encounters. Yet Irina worshipped the imprint his head left on her pillow, his abandoned cigarette butt in the ashtray[  ] The Nabokovs struck many as one of the great love stories. Lawyers, publishers, relatives, colleagues and friends agreed on one point: "He would have been nowhere without her." © Stacy Schiff 1999 Extracted from Vera: Mrs Vladimir Nabokov by Stacy Schiff to be published by Macmillan on Friday at £25. Copies can be ordered from The Sunday Times bookclub for £22 on 0870 165 8585
** - excerpts from last paragraphs: "If he had not been certain (as he also was in the case of literary creation) that the realization of the scheme already existed in some other world, from which he transferred it into this one, then the complex and prolonged work on the board would have been an intolerable burden to the mind, since it would have to concede, together with the possibility of realization, the possibility of its impossibility [bold characters mine]"
Creation is therefore, not only the possibility of a realization but the possibility of an impossibility and here Nabokov prefigures Derrida's analysis of the characteristics of the gift as the impossible, which is, at the same time, the reserve of being as Fyodor explains:
"Where shall I put all these gifts with which the summer morning rewards me – and only me? Save them for future books? Use them immediately for a practical handbook: How to Be Happy? Or getting deeper, to the bottom of things: understand what is concealed behind all this, behind the play, the sparkle, the thick, green grease-paint of the foliage? For there really is something, there is something! And one wants to offer thanks but there is no one to thank. The list of donations already made: 10,000 days- from Person Unknown."  [bold characters mine]
The "there is something" echoes Heidegger's "es gibt Sein", the gift of being, which is unconditional and affirmative. Nabokov indeed declared that he had chosen the title of the novel as Dar because the Russian word Dar was the word Da with an 'r'. And the novel indeed is a Yes to life and literature. There is nobody to thank because there is, in the gift, no debt, no exchange, no return; it is a reserve of being, of ceaseless writing, of blissful loving. Thus, contrary to Blanchot's pessimistic perspective of love associated to loss and solitude, Nabokov's is an optimistic one which glorifies and transfigures the world. [  ] I may therefore conclude as such: philosophy does not indeed precede literature as Nabokov had prefigured Derrida 's analysis  of the gift  and as, love, being an affect and not a concept, is best described in a literary work which can offer the different nuances of its singularities and which renews its representations. As for our new critical stance, it should alternate philosophy and literature in a to-and-fro movement as philosophy helps us to understand and regenerate the meaning and thought of literature whereas literature fleshes out and revives concepts. Loving and Giving in The Gift Jacqueline Hamrit ( a discussion of The Gift in terms of Derridean philosophy.)
(btw: I missed a reference to the Freudian "Bejahung" and his inversion of the philosophical judgement of attribution and of existence to stress the positive acceptance of life whatever it takes, in the context of JH's reading of VN's basic enthusiasm for Life.)
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