NABOKV-L post 0026542, Sun, 18 Oct 2015 15:58:20 -0200

[Unruly THOUGHTS] Full moon and ampersand
And I'll turn down eternity unless
The melancholy and the tenderness
Of mortal life; the passion and the pain;
... this good ink, this rhyme,
This index card, this slender rubber band
Which always forms, when dropped, an ampersand,
Are found in Heaven by the newly dead
Stored in its strongholds through the years.
(V. Nabokov)

When I try to explore the images suggested by words in V.Nabokov's texts I'm
often led away from the rhythm of a sentence, away from sound and meaning
while groping towards visual puns and, equally as often, towards a new
"literalness" that escapes their strictly verbal dimension and sets its
value over the world of "semblance" over "essence". Sometimes malapropisms
and "mondegreens" too are in order when they disgorge a different set of
figures and implications.

The signifier "moon" I learned to associate to Shakespeare/Nabokov's "pale
fire" relates to the concept of a satellite hovering around our planet and
it encompasses the new moon (when it is invisible as seen from the Earth),
the sighting of it during its waxing or waning phase and even its pull
affecting all kinds of physical elements (including our own bodies).
However, when we accept a "moondrop title," together with the sense of
"thievery" that actually results from the habit of using analogies and
references, we need to consider it as a "full moon" to be able to dwell in
the present of Shade's poetical insight.

(.and now I wonder if we also need to envisage, as A. Sklyarenko likes to
repeat, a "full Botkin" instead of his waning and waxing manifestations
during one of these very hypothetical phases?)

After dropping a rubber band, as does John Shade, without finding a
(rhyming) ampersand or a line that shapes a number "eight," or the sign for
"infinity," I had to remind myself of the author's concision and of the
importance he attributes to well-observed details. To be able to follow V.
Nabokov's intentions we often need to dwell on impossibles like a Penrose
tribar or on slanted perspectives that suggest non-existing wholes.

(.now, & if Kinbote-Gradus-Shade are integrated only by applying a slanted
Escher-like perspective that forces his figures to incessantly glide on but
annulling progression or regress?)

What happens when the suggested image of the ampersand is a verbal/image
trap? When, instead of eternity and instead of mathematical infinity, we
delve into infinite metonymy? By exploring about the origin of the word
"ampersand" I learned that it indicates what once was the 27th part of the
alphabet ( Cf. <> ) and that its shape & "predates the
word ampersand by more than 1,500 years"? "In the first century, Roman
scribes wrote in cursive, so when they wrote the Latin word et which means
"and" they linked the e and t. Over time the combined letters came to
signify the word "and" in English as well." "The word "ampersand" came many
years later when "&" was actually part of the English alphabet. In the early
1800s, school children reciting their ABCs concluded the alphabet with the
&. It would have been confusing to say "X, Y, Z, and." Rather, the students
said, "and per se and." "Per se" means "by itself," so the students were
essentially saying, "X, Y, Z, and by itself and." Over time, "and per se
and" was slurred together into the word we use today - ampersand." Fun!

The only gripping line, by its static simplicity, found in David Forster
Wallace's Brief Interviews With Hideous Men ( obtained during my initiatory
reading, after Eggers, Slater and Franzen, while aiming at "contemporary
American literature") is one that I'm sure V.N would never ever have
constructed. I look forward to encountering more examples of that in present
day fiction (Forster informs You that his father and mother sun: "Both your
parents sun" - Forever Overhead, p.6, Back Bay Books,2007 ). What a

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