NABOKV-L post 0018714, Wed, 28 Oct 2009 11:44:53 -0200

[NABOKOV-L] Et In Arcadia Ego
Matt Roth [to JM]: I don't know if it is necessary to wonder where VN got his impressions of "Et in Arcadia Ego." In Letter 248 (August 7, 1957) of the VN-Wilson letters, VN writes, "My source for understanding et in Arcadia ego, meaning 'I (Death) (exist) even in Arcady,' is an excellent essay in Erwin Panofsky's The Meaning of the Visual Arts, Anchor Books, New York, 1955."...Panofsky's book remains widely available.
Sandy Klein forwards
La trama sembra complessa e densa, e si rivelerà, forse, uno strumento utile per fare luce sul personaggio di Humbert Humbert e di Lolita stessa. Wild, uno studioso corpulento, è sposato con Flora, donna magrissima che lo tradisce con tutti. L'ha sposata perché assomiglia a Aurora Lee, una ragazza di cui era innamorato da giovane. L'uomo è ossessionato dal pensiero della morte, un tema sempre presente in Nabokov, e decide di auto-cancellarsi, con la meditazione, a partire dalle dita dei piedi e risalendo per il corpo. Giuliana Manganelli

JM: Thank you, Matt. Brazilian humorist Millôr once quipped:"Apenas a morte é imortal" ("Only death is immortal"), following the line of Pope Clement's wisdom. However, they seem to ignore the interdependence bt.death and life ( ie, only where there's life there's death.)

I skipped the quote from Letter 248 you brought up, but I abutted in Panofsky through a winding road that kept me wonderwandering. For I unearthed your former posting, the one where you mentioned that: "the 'aunts and orphans' thread and the Cedarn thread unite in Mrs. Browning's 'Aurora Leigh'," in the nick of time to find its eerie resonance with TOoL's Aurora Lee - as it has just been mentioned Manganelli's review sent by Klein, and to death's presence in Arcadian life.

From the Panofsky couple (Pandora), the Browning pair and Joyce we may realize how Loleeta's "wordsmithi" tigris will roar on in "Pale Fire," just as Poe's Annabel Lee is fragmentarily heard through Joyce's Anna Lívia Plurabelle.
Will they recur in "The Original of Laura" and the story of feminine carnal infidelity versus a man's imaginary betrayal by his adherence to an arcadian first love?

In AL, Alfred Appel notes: "Joyce himself helped to introduce Nabokov to Finnegans Wake. In Paris in 1937 or 1938, he gave Nabokov Haveth Childers Everywhere...Future commentators will no doubt find several echoes of Finnegans Wake in Lolita; but it could hardly be otherwise, since Joyce's book is so inclusive, so monstruously allusive...The only persistent 'smudge' is a trace of Anna Livia Plurabelle." (p.414).
Duly warned, I'm still after Nabokovian references to Joyce, particularly those with a link to ALP, like the one in part I, ch.14, page 207: "She watched the listless pale fountain girl put in the ice, pour in the coke, add the cherry syrup ... Mr. Pim watched Pippa suck in the concoction...J'ai toujours admiré l'ouvre ormonde du sublime Dublinois. And in the meantime the rain had become a voluptuous shower." They may lead us from PF towards TOoL. After all, among its various interpretative inroads, "Lolita" (with a humping Humph of a Humber rivuleting into her nymphic liffey) may be seen as a precise satire, or a denunciation, of Joyce's Wake, its sheer virulent albeit hilarious violence and smug "felix culpa" in rape.
VN's "nymphancy" and subsequent silence in relation to "nymphets" is significant, also because he was probably aware that the word "infant" means "voiceless, wordless." Like Humbert's pubescent prey - but VN's denunciation doesn't stop in "Lolita" for, through this special paragraph on ch 14, we may surmise that graceless Hazel Shade, a dyslexic young woman, may also be connected to Humbert's delicate nymphet.
Browning's presence in both novels, and (H)umber/Shade's recollected fountainism and Wordsmith's Dulwich road indicate that both girls are the silent victims of verbal control. And yet, contrary to Joyce's excruciating oceanic richness, Lolita and Hazel, as fictional characters with a definite shape, may be seen from a distance. This is why VN's readers are able to explore their own unquenchable "voice," to grieve for them. What does TOoL have in store for us?

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