Carolyn Kunin: Dear Jansy, I guess I'm confused here (or herrrr). Philomel (or Philomela) was raped by her brother-in-law, so not really incest [   ]When her sister Procne "read" the truth in a tapestry Philomela had woven, she serves up her and Tereus's (the rapist's) son to him. This I assume is the "alimentary" incest of which Matt Roth writes./ Was the rape incestuous? /If there is any evidence that Shade's relationship with his daughter was unnatural, I have missed it. I have missed how Hazel is either a nightingale (they don't exist on the American continent after all) or a pheasant. Shade is not a waxwing, but the shadow of one, which is only his poetic way of saying that he was watching  [   ] Shade imagining himself a king is too generic an idea to point to the Ovid story ... so Matt is going to have to defend this idea - I just don't get it.



Jansy Mello: That’s my point [I quote a few of my misgivings expressed in another VN-L posting: “I also stopped to reconsider Matt Roth’s ideas and realized that his theories about incestuous relations, Hazel as a nightingale and Shade as “King” ( come herr’, “hombre”, etc. ), didn’t convince me.”]


Why did you address me instead of Matt?

Btw: I’ve been apologetic enough about my having jumped uncritically from one association to another simply because things are basically connected in one way or another and as if such convoluted links and “stepping stones” were sufficient. *

There was a definite gain, though. I used to read C.K’s commentaries to Shade’s
Line 810: a web of sense, while adopting as an ideal project all those little daedalian mazes produced by CK. Now I’m not as certain as I was concerning the irony I found in Kinbote’s defense of “one beautiful straight line” that was conquered by a “master thumb,” nor by his choice of future interlocutions with Aristotle instead of “…talks/ With Socrates and Proust in cypress walks” (223-23).** 


And I got an added bonus in another image created by CK when he mentions that which in his brain is similar to “the ball of his thumb” and its labyrinthine twists  (what to make out from this approximation? Aside from the verbal dimension, what lies beyond its description in relation to Shade’s and CK’s tin-toys and the circus?)***




* - Brian Boyd inquired at the time: “Why work so circuitously to make a connection that the novel itself makes directly--unless you feel you need to get, by stepping stones you have imported and moved into position, to the story of Tereus and Philomel?,” but without biting into the meat of Matt’s arguments.


**-Cf. “Aristotle! — Ah, there would be a man to talk with! What satisfaction to see him take, like reins from between his fingers, the long ribbon of man’s life and trace it through the mystifying maze of all the wonderful adventure.... The crooked made straight. The Daedalian plan simplified by a look from above — smeared out as it were by the splotch of some master thumb that made the whole involuted, boggling thing one beautiful straight line."


 ***-  “What he particularly desired to rediscover now was an elaborate toy circus contained in a box as big as a croquet case. He craved for it; his eyes, his brain, and that in his brain which corresponded to the ball of his thumb, vividly remembered the brown boy acrobats with spangled nates, an elegant and melancholy clown with a ruff, and especially three pup-sized elephants of polished wood with such versatile joints that you could make the sleek jumbo stand upright on one foreleg or rear up solidly on the top of a small white barrel ringed with red.”


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