NABOKV-L post 0020757, Fri, 24 Sep 2010 15:16:14 +0400

Oscar Nattochdag
Immediately after submitting my latest message to the List I realized that Oscar Nattochdag (nicknamed Netochka) was a namesake of Oscar Wilde. Like Dostoevsky (the author of "Netochka Nezvanov"), Wilde served a prison sentence. He went to jail for being a homosexual (or, rather, bisexual). Interestingly, it is Dr Nattochdag who urges Kinbote (who has the same inclinations as Wilde) to be more careful (because "a boy had complained to his adviser"). Natt och dag means "night and day" in Swedish and that phrase occurs at least three times in Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol ("He does not sit with silent men / Who watch him night and day"; "Or else he sat with those who watched / His anguish night and day"; "For they starve the little frightened child / Till it weeps both night and day").

I recall that Carolyn Kunin recommended to the List "The Picture of Dorian Gray" but can't remember why she wanted us to read it? Because of Sybil Vane, a character in Wilde's novel who commits a suicide (as does her namesake in VN's story The Vane Sisters)? The name of Shade's wife is also Sybil, of course.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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