[SIGHTING] VOYAGE AROUND MY LIBRARY #48: Vladimir Nabokov: A Tribute [edited by Peter Quennell (New York: Morrow, 1980)]. 2/5/201 http://www.garymichaeldault.com/book-blog/archives/02-2015
"Here is their young professor on Chekhov: 'Read and dream through Chekhov’s bleak landscapes,' Nabokov told them, 'which convey a dim loveliness and are like gray clothes on a gray clothesline flapping against a gray sky'.” “Chekhov’s world, he tells them, 'is dove-gray'.”
JM: Dove-gray seems to be an important color in V.Nabokov’s palette. I wonder if there are childhood associations related to his particular choice with “doves” ( Apparently in VN’s American writing grey turned into gray: PF - John Shade, line 29 “All colors made me happy: even gray.”). Is the choice related to his synesthesic sensations with the letters V or N? V is “rose quartz”, N is “oat-meal” and the grays are either a “sooty rag” R or a “steely X” that passes into the blue section of colors, like Clare Bishop’s “blue-gray.” And pigeons, in RLSK, smell of “iris and rubber.” (so we must include smells, too?) *
One of the images I stored from reading Grimm’s tales as a young girl represented Cinderella sitting by the fire amidst lentils and doves*. Ashes, Ashette, Cinderella are important references (mainly in ADA).
Here’s what I found online as a confirmation: “As, however, Cinderella went on asking, the step-mother said at last, I have emptied a dish of lentils into the ashes for you, if you have picked them out again in two hours, you shall go with us. The maiden went through the back-door into the garden, and called, you tame pigeons, you turtle-doves, and all you birds beneath the sky, come and help me to pick the good into the pot, the bad into the crop. Then two white pigeons came in by the kitchen window, and afterwards the turtle-doves, and at last all the birds beneath the sky, came whirring and crowding in, and alighted amongst the ashes. And the pigeons nodded with their heads and began pick, pick, pick, pick, and the rest began also pick, pick, pick, pick, and gathered all the good grains into the dish. http://www.familymanagement.com/literacy/grimms/grimms16.html Would a similar picture with Cinderella, lentils and doves haunt V.Nabokov’s world of sensations?
* Life with you was lovely — and when I say lovely, I mean doves and lilies, and velvet, and that soft pink "v" in the middle and the way your tongue curved up to the long, lingering "l". Our life together was alliterative...
[…] 'Far too many pigeons,' she said, as we reached the kerb.
'Yes, and they smell,' added Sebastian.
'What kind of smell? My nose is stuffed up,' she asked sniffing and peering at the dense crowd of fat birds strutting about our feet.
'Iris and rubber,' said Sebastian.
The groan of a motor-lorry in the act of avoiding a furniture van sent the birds wheeling across the sky. They settled among the pearl-grey and black frieze of the Arc de Triomphe and when some of them fluttered off again it seemed as if bits of the carved entablature were turned into flaky life. A few years later I found that picture, 'that stone melting into wing', in Sebastian's third book.”