NABOKV-L post 0019500, Wed, 24 Feb 2010 10:38:50 -0800

What the skater retakes
On Feb 24, 2010, at 7:13 AM, Matthew Roth wrote:
My favorite: how "Retake, retake" (487) turns round to become
"skaters" in line 489. Almost as if JS is trying to rewind the scene.

Dear Matt,

V.N./envy and numbed/Edmund are good mirrorisms in the letter poem,
but PF's retake, retake and skaters is very interesting indeed. The
context is the concluding stanzas of Canto II:

"Midnight," you said. What's midnight to the young?
And suddenly a festive blaze was flung
Across five cedars, snow patches showed,
And a patrol car on our bumpy road
Came to a crunching stop. Retake, retake!
[cf "retake the falling snow" which opens the second stanza of Canto I]

People have thought she tried to cross the lake
At Lochan Neck where zesty skaters crossed
From Exe to Wye on days of special frost.

The crossing of the zesty skaters, "from [x] to [y]," suggests
something I admit I can't put my finger on. Crossing is a kind of
reversal, of course. Should we reverse y and x? Could zesty skaters be
an anagram in Russian (Alexey)?
and what are days of special frost?* The crunching stop - - could this
refer to Kinbote's first near-collision with Shade and Sybil in car?
Have we discussed "Lochan Neck"? What does it mean to "cross Lochan
Neck"? The crossed/frost rhyme is wonderful and may have some
significance of which we are currently ignorant.

"Reverse the falling snow" seems initially to mean reverse time (to
undo Hazel's death presumably), but could there be another meaning?
And why five cedars (another fire anagram)? Fire and frost? Does snow
= nows? Les neiges d'antan?

Very interesting - - and intriguing.
NY Lora C

* "sPEcIAL FRost" does contain "pale fir[e]" but not sure if that's
the intention. Is a cedar a fir?

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