Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015667, Sat, 10 Nov 2007 00:14:47 -0200

Fw: johnson
Dear Matt and List,

MR wrote: "...unless Edsel Ford was a visiting writer at Wordsmith, I don't think we have reason to believe that Kinbote ran into him anywhere. His only access to "The Image of Desire" would have been through publication in a book or periodical, but as I said, the poem appeared for the first time in 1961."

Yes, MR is absolutely correct. Independently of the meaning VN could have given to the word "publication", we see that Kinbote had no reason to run into Ford anywhere ( except Dr Sutton's tottering car). So he must have been endowed with real prophetic powers, at least as real as Eystein's inclusion of material objects, besides paint, into his trompe l'oeils oils.

But I must ask: why did VN "go out of his way" to praise Edself Ford and add this "real" prophetic element to PF?
Was it related to Gradus? Was it to emphasize the catastrophic meaning attached to the Red Admiral butterfly? Are there other examples of CK's prophecies?

While I puzzled about it, I remembered S.Johnson's worries about Hodges' very earthly future safety and checked a bit further. If we follow his (SJ's) own Annotations on Shakespeare we find after Hamlet's soliloquium: "...who would bear the vexations of life which might be ended by a bare bodkin, but that he is afraid of something in unknown futurity?" And yet, SJ's "futurity" applies to the "hereafter" and, apparently, such fear only pertains to Shade's, not to Kinbote's IPH conjectures.

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