Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015450, Sat, 1 Sep 2007 11:23:29 -0300

[NABOKOV-L QUERY] Twang. A good night for mothing.
In Bend Sinister we find references to a "bombinating moth" [as Olga's rosy soul... bombinates in the damp dark at the bright window of my room], to "bombycina corpus", brownish pink moths and "mothing".
In his introduction, VN recognizes that his "characters are not 'types' ...only absurd mirages, illusions...", "merely my whims and megrims."...
That VN was familiar with Rabelais is amply attested by Pale Fire, we read about Rabelais and his "big potato".

I found an interesting mention to a Rabelaisian library visited by Pantragruel, in an essay written by Umberto Eco, where the words "chimera bombinans in vacuo" called my attention ( I selected only part of the entire title of the mysterious book on "Quaestio subtilissima utrum chimera bombinans in vacuo possit comedere secundas intentiones".

I wonder if anyone has already called attention to this animated "chimera" that bombinates in Bend Sinister's last lines to twang and trick proofreaders into substituting "mothing" for "nothing" and the whimsical mirage of a library and its titles in Rabelais.
( as also to sound of "bombycina" with Shade's waxwing "Bombycilla")

PS: I would like to thank Sandor Pongor for providing the relevant excerpt from Montaigne's essay concerning VN's disparaging comments on Apuleius, as also John Mella, for the disquietingly beautiful lines 115-124 of Shade's poem in association to the rocking cradle balancing over two abyssal infinite darknesses.

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