NABOKV-L post 0010749, Thu, 9 Dec 2004 09:21:22 -0800

Fw: TT-25 Akiko's Notes CHUTE
----- Original Message -----
From: D. Barton Johnson
Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2004 9:05 AM
Subject: Fw: TT-25 Akiko's Notes CHUTE

----- Original Message -----
From: Dmitri Nabokov
To: 'D. Barton Johnson'
Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 2004 2:04 PM
Subject: FW: TT-25 Akiko's Notes

Dear Don,

A little note to Akiko's note to Chute, Colorado: besides "fall" in French, and various industrial senses, the noun "chute," in mountain-climbing parlance, means a gully, usually narrow, steep, and containing snow. An "avalanche chute" is a gully that abets the confluence and acceleration of avalanching snow in a kind of alpine Bernoulli effect. It is also a term used in bobsledding. See, I do read all the interesting commentary, but have time only for the occasional peep about something specialized as I burrow through my own mazes of pretty heavy stuff.

-----Original Message-----
From: Sandy Klein []
Sent: mercredi, 8. décembre 2004 17:22
Subject: Fwd: TT-25 Akiko's Notes

From: Donald B. Johnson []
Sent: Tuesday, December 07, 2004 6:52 PM
Subject: Fwd: TT-25 Akiko's Notes

----- Forwarded message from -----
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2004 22:34:55 +0900
From: Akiko Nakata <>
Reply-To: Akiko Nakata <>
Subject: TT-25 Introductory Notes

94.03-06: A search for lost time . . . *je suis ne": "The French translates the opening of Thomas Hood's 'I remember, I remember' (1827). Goodgrief combines Hood ('Good' in the Russian transliteration) and the surname of C.
K. Scot Moncrieff, the translator of Proust who changed the title of *A la recherche du temps perdu* (*In Search of Lost Time*) to *Remembrance of Things Past* in order to keep to Proust's R-T-P- pattern and to echo Shakespeare's sonnet 30: 'When to the sessions of sweet silent thought / I summon up remembrance of things past . . . '" (Brian Boyd's note to the LoA edition).
You can read the poem by Thomas Hood at:; Shakespeare's sonnet 30 at: .

94.06: Proust's quest: As Alyssa Pelish pointed out the resemblance between a passage from "The Fugitive" and Ch.1 of TT some months ago, Proust plays an important role in the novella. A passage from VN's lecture on Proust almost sounds to describe TT (except for "enormous"): "The whole is a treasure hunt where the treasure is time and the hiding place the past [. .
. ] The transmutation of sensation into sentiment, the ebb and tide of memory, waves of emotions such as desire, jealousy, and artistic euphoria--this is the material of the enormous and yet singularly light and translucid work."

Another Proust connection: "Now Lady X," repeated in this chapter, alludes to some characters in Proust who move up to a higher position as Odette de Crecy finally becomes Comtess de Forcheville.

94.12-13: Jacques lay buried under six feet of snow in Chute, Colorado: One of the characters who have died backstage. As Don and John has mentioned, "Chute" suggests that the ex-bobsled champion died by falling. As I wrote on Ch. 7, in "The Vane Sisters," the spirit of Oscar Wilde tells that he and his brother, John and Bill Moore, coal miners in Colorado, died in an avalanche. In this chapter just before we see M. Wilde we hear about Jacque.

94.13: a club hut: Have we seen the hut? Is it the shallet where three J boys had a party?

94.15-16: "Draconite," a stimulant no longer in production: is of course from Draconita as well as Dragon + knight/night. Cf. "The *dragon drag* had worn off: its aftereffects are not pleasant, combining as they do physical fatigue with a certain starkness of thought as if all color were drained from the mind" (ADA II. 11, my italics).

95.23: A dog yapped on the inner side of the door: It reminds me of the "dog" that Kern of "Wingstroke" believes to be with Isabel in her room (later he knows it was not a dog). Unlike it, the dog whose yapping HP hears actually accompanies the woman who stays in the room. HP has no chance to see the dog, though. The dog was foreshadowed by the door's winning following HP "like a stupid pet" (Ch. 2). As a dog (a setter) causes Charlotte's death in *Lolita*, a dog (a spitz) indirectly leads HP to the death in the room where he and Armande stayed eight years ago. See also the note to "the lady with the dog" below.

95.31: "Beau Romeo": The exact name of the Stresa hotel is The Grand Hotel des Isles Borromees, facing Lago Maggiore. Answering my question, Brian Boyd revised the note to the LoA edition that the hotel was "Borromeo"--there seems to be no hotel by the name in Stresa. He also brought my attention to the Maggiore-Major-More-Moore connections. You can see the hotel at

96.07: *Transatlantic*: Another "trans-." HP returned trans-Atlantically to the magazine (obviously a pun on *The Atlantic*) he left there eight years ago. Could it be possible that VN was thinking of Witold Gombrowicz's novel, *Trans-Atlantyk*?

96.10-11: Monsieur Wilde's English . . . intonation: "Nabokov commented that George Steiner 'absurdly overestimates Oscar Wilde's mastery of French'
(*Strong Opinions*, Article 7, 'Anniversary Notes'--'George Steiner')"
(Brian Boyd's note to LoA).
In "The Vane Sisters," Wilde speaks "rapid garbled French, with the usual anglicisms."

96.17-18: One talks here of a man who murdered his spouse eight years ago:
As the issue was left by HP himself, it cannot have the article about HP's own murder, but several paralles are found between HP and the murderer.

96.26-27: the woman who had enveloped the fat that remained of her ham in a paper napkin: "The lady with the dog" is going to give it to her dog. We will see a shred of the paper napkin and a smudge of grease in the wastepaper basket in the following chapter.

96.33-97.he had been an exemplary prisoner and had even taught his cell-mates such things as chess, Esperanto, the best way to make pumpkin pie, the signs of the zodiac, gin rummy, et cetera, et cetera: Is there any well-known criminal to whom all these things apply to?

98.02-06: I faked violence . . . appering subnormal: A Hamlet motif.

98.19: *l'aiguillon rouge*: I am grateful to Brian Boyd for telling me that *l'aiguillon rouge* comes from a hawkmoth, the sphinx du liseron, which has an "aiguillon rouge," and it "may come from Ronsard, whom Nabokov knew well, and there is an 'aiguillon' (as Cupid's arrow, though), in the sonnet 'Qui voudra voyr comme un Dieu me surmonte.' But it's not red." I am also grateful to Jansy for sending me a photo of the hawkmoth (I am forwarding it to the list). Ronsard's "Poemes des Amours" (1552) can be read at: . The fourth stanza has "D'avoir au flanc l'aiguillon amoureux."

98.24-25: three famous theologians and two minor poets: Who are they? I only remember Socrates and his Daimonion, a kind of guardian spirit, which warned the philosopher against various prospective events.

98.26-27: a larger, incredibly wiser, calmer and stronger stranger, morally better than he: Cf. "A demon, I felt, was frocingme to impersonate that other man, that other writer who was and would always be incomparably greater, healthier, and crueler than your obedient servant" (*LATH* II. 3).

98.35-99.01: Verona, Florence, Rome, Taormina: In March 1970 VN went to Rome with the index cards for TT. Then in April and May he visited Taormina (Brian Boyd, *VNAY* 576). In Florence the Nabokovs visited museums in 1966
(*Ibid* 512). How about Verona?

99.08-09: The lady with the little dog: "Title of Anton Chekhov's story of an adulterous affair, 'Dama s sobachkoi' (1899) (Brian Boyd's note to LoA).
In Chekhov's story, the little dog is a spitz. In "Spring in Fialta," VN's "The Lady with the Little Dog," dogs are intentionally spared. However, Nina's scarf "already on the move like those dogs that recognize you before their owners do" makes her see Victor as a spitz gives Gulov a chance to talk to Anna in Chekhov's story.

Thank you for reading!


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