NABOKV-L post 0014431, Mon, 18 Dec 2006 08:56:18 -0800

VN & Hogg, doubles & parahelia
From Carolyn to Chaswe & the List,

I try to format my posts so as to make them easy to read, but that somehow
got lost in yesterday's posting on Hogg. So for those who understandably
didn't bother to plow through it I would ask to be allowed to re-state the

In the archives I found a post from Chaswe from 1998 in which he quoted a
passage from Despair that hinted that VN knew of James Hogg's interesting
early 19th century novel about two brother-doubles, The Confessions of a
Justified Sinner. Charles added the possibility that the work might have
influenced Pale Fire "Sinner resembles Pale Fire in being bi-partite, the
first part a commentary on the autobiographical second part; and perhaps in
other, deeper ways."

I added to Chaswe's observation the presence in PF of the odd word
"cresset" (an object in Garh's family household which had puzzled me) to
prove that VN did indeed probably own the 1947 Cresset edition of the
little-known masterpiece.

For those interested in PF, or in VN in general, the Hogg work is a definite
"must read." An excellent introduction to the work can be found in Marina
Warner's Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds of a few years ago.


p.s. Besides the double theme, there are interesting atmospheric (parahelic)
resemblances between the two novels.

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