Lolita’s Lithophantic eternities
In addition to exotic vocabulary ityems VN was very fond of optical delusions (cf the “non-non” (Russ. netki) of the undistorting mirrors in Invitations to a Beheading among many others. These optical tricks that play with dimensionality are part and parcel of VN’s “otherworld” theme. The following example is from Lolita, part II, ch. 31. Don Johnson
At this solitary stop for
refreshments between Coalmont and Ramsdale
(between innocent Dolly Schiller and jovial Uncle Ivor),
I reviewed my case. With the utmost simplicity and clarity
I now saw myself and my
love. Previous attempts seemed out of focus
in comparison. A couple of years before, under the guidance of an intelligent
French-speaking confessor, to whom, in a moment of
metaphysical curiosity, I had turned over a Protestant's drab
atheism for an old-fashioned popish cure, I had hoped to deduce from
my sense of sin the existence of a Supreme Being. On those frosty
mornings in rime-laced
German lithophane of the Fountain in the
The image just below is lighted from the viewers’ position.
. Only when the image is back-lit, does the second version become visible. (See below.) Note that in this two-dimensional version the three-dimensional is,alas, lost.
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