Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026721, Tue, 22 Dec 2015 18:13:46 -0200

RES: [NABOKV-L] Lolita: harlotte's "maroon slacks,
yellow silk blouse"
Para: 'Vladimir Nabokov Forum' <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
Assunto: RES: [NABOKV-L] Lolita: harlotte's "maroon slacks, yellow silk blouse"

Didier Machu: “...I have a query regarding Lolita. On that fateful day when Charlotte is killed, Humbert remarks that she is wearing "the yellow blouse and maroon slacks she had on when [he] first met her." Indeed "maroon slacks, yellow silk blouse" appear to him in that order when she comes down the stairs to greet her lodger-to-be. Why is she dressed identically on the first and last days of their shared life? Why is she made to wear those particular colors? I have been considering several explanations (none of which quite satisfies me) and would like to hear you all on the matter. Thanks.”

Jansy Mello: Nabokov wrote a lot about coincidences and the difficulty of interpreting anything related to their occurrence, often described as an ‘irony of fate” or a mockery of the cause- and - effect interpretation of the world.. Their place in a novel may be as ironical as fate’s whims.

The sound of the two alternated word groups(yellow blouse maroon slacks) suggests some other sonorous parallel with the Russian (like the “yellow blue vase” in Ada,or Ardor.) Since colors seem to function as a marking in some of his novels, like violet/purple in Despair , “deep ultramarine blue” in Ada, or Ardor” I was reminded, exactly, of violet Despair since in the novel there are discordantly emphatic yellow signal-posts indicating the road towards the place where Felix was murdered. I think there was a reference to brown leather gloves, too. No explanations that can be useful for your observant query as regards Lolita, though, except for the inutility of the insistent mentions of yellow and brown in Despair…

Did you intentionally write, as the subject of your posting “harlotte” instead of “Charlotte”?

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