RE [NABOKV-L] [Old SIGHTING] Nabokov's Berlin Nabokov, art and evil
RE: [NABOKV-L] [Old SIGHTING] Nabokov's Berlin: Nabokov, art and evil
laurence hochard <>
2/9/2014 9:22 AM
Vladimir Nabokov Forum <>

Anthony Stadlen: "and also posturing penitent contemplating a turn to religion "

I don't think that Humbert's statement (
"Unless it can be proven to me — to me as I am now, today, with my heart and by beard, and my putrefaction — that in the infinite run it does not matter a jot that a North American girl-child named Dolores Haze had been deprived of her childhood by a maniac, unless this can be proven (and if it can, then life is a joke), I see nothing for the treatment of my misery but the melancholy and very local palliative of articulate art.") can be read as a turn to religion. Quite the contrary! This is one of Humbert's rare moments of lucidity when Humbert's and the author's voices fuse. In essence, what they say here is that there is no redemption whatsover for Humbert's crime, that no religious idea of atonement can never undo what has been done.
I suspect that this passage is a dig at Ivan's confession in Dostoëvski's The Brothers Karamazov. Indeed, Ivan confesses to having abused a little girl who afterwards commits suicide. If I remember well, this written confession is addressed to staretz Zosima who recommends total obedience and surrender to God as atonement for Ivan's sin. This is what Nabokov totally rejects.

Laurence Hochard
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