NABOKV-L post 0010439, Thu, 21 Oct 2004 09:59:33 -0700

Fwd: Transparent Things. Correction. Tom Wolf, not E. Wilson
Akiko warned me that I´d mistakenly attributed to E.Wilson, Tom Wolfe´s

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From: "Donald B. Johnson" <>
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2004 1:42 PM
Subject: Fwd: Transparent Things

----- Forwarded message from -----
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 13:41:21 -0300
From: Jansy Berndt de Souza Mello <>
Reply-To: Jansy Berndt de Souza Mello <>
Subject: Transparent Things
To: don barton johnson <>

After several piece-meal workings on TT, I tried to sum up some conclusions
decided that I wasn´t able to reach any insight.
I had Akiko´s chronological table with her plea for a mathematician to aid
with calculations and I think one needs to be both math and chess expert.

Events tend to run into a full circle several times ( same hotel room, same
dog, same flying cockschuttle, same Transatlantic magazine ).

TT often points to themes that are present in ADA.
We have the Burning Barn episode and the various burning windows and hotels
doll-houses in TT. Often "flames", "fires", "l´aiguillon rouge" or
in TT refer to the itchings and ardors of sex ( in differing intensities and
proportions) .

The word "bûcher" in French has various entries: Guy de Maupassant´s " Le
bûcher" ( an experience in India) and Edmund Wilson´s " Bonfire of
Vanities" (
I cannot remember the correct title in English). Maupassant is often quoted
The prenom Guy appears in TT refering to a tennis-player and his brother in
(" that other Guy", or plain "guy").
Hugh Person´s nickname "Percy" is also a link with ADA.

The "l´ aiguillon rouge", beside the flaming itch of sexual desire, is also
reference for a moth-butterfly that bears such a mark on her back ( "le
du liseron" ) .

What about chess moves? We could have a Michelin tour guide as reference for
various hotels and moves from one to another ( Ascot, Locquet, etc and
cities, as Trux, Geneva, Witt, Versex ) with reference to "turrets" and "red
songbird" ( would a "Canadian Cardinal" redbird be an equivalent to a Bishop
figure in chess? Or refer to the four cardinal points of a compass? Canada
appears in Armande´s ancestors, I think... ) . These are Romeo´s romaries (
pilgrimages ) and not "road stories" such as in Lolita, but the tour from
hotel to another recurs there too.

There are similar triangles bt. man/woman/daughter ( in Lolita, in The Gift
(Zina) and, in TT, with Mr. R, Mrs. Marion R, and Julia )

What about math? There are formulaic indications of one fifth of 40 years
( 8
years, recurrently mentioned together with ages 22 for Hugh). We have also
subtract 10 and 18 years at various points to try and match Hughs four
to Switzerland. He must have been there twice while he was 32. There is an
date missing.

There are indications of ages ( Julia Moore, 16 and her mother, Marion, or
Mrs.Robert 38 ) as also indications of "stranglers" are found: (1) Armand
and his triangle ( his lover and his incestuous sister ) who sculpted the
figurine of a skier ( it appears in Hugh´s first and last visit. In bt. we
him watching Armande in green skiing apparel ); (2) The strangler in
"Translatlantic" magazine who choked his wife ( the magazine had been left
behind by Hugh eight years ago); (3) Hugh as a strangler ( eight years later
than the strangling news in the transatlantic ).

Sometimes Armande appears as Julia (Ch 25: " He himself had been jailed,
hospitalized, jainled again, tried twice for throttling an American girl (
Lady X).

Mr. R has a "von" in his Baronial name and there is a reference to Adam von
Librikov ( almost perfect anagram for Vladimir Nabokov) seems to have
traits in common with the author´s creation of Hugh Person in this novel.

What intrigues me more are the indications of "three" and triangles and
three-legged tables but we then count "four". For example: Mme. Chamar
prefer her daughter to be married either to one of the Blake Twins ( Jack
Jake ), to Jacques (bobsled campion) or to a Swiss boy ( un-named). Also
Person´s four trips with the ennumeration of only three.

Anyway, I gave up on the misteries of TT .
My favorite sentence in it was: " The bare wood of its tapered end has
to plumbeous plum, thus merging in tint with the blunt tip of graphite whose
blind gloss alone distinguishes it from the wood" ( lovely rythm...)
I get the uncomfortable feeling that not only VN is laughing at me (
A.Appel suggested in one of his prefaces ) but that he used his novels as a
"filling" for his poetry.

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