NABOKV-L post 0010486, Sun, 31 Oct 2004 16:19:06 -0800

Re: Fwd: TT-20 Introductory Notes
A quick question: could Murphy Pills be related to some kind of "Morphy" (
as in Morpheus?).
Armande´s flight and Akiko´s reference to time and horizontality reminded me
of Jean Cocteau´s:
" La vie est une chute horizontale" that links nicely time and space...

----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald B. Johnson" <>

Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2004 1:39 PM
Subject: Fwd: TT-20 Introductory Notes

> EDNOTE. The group reading of Transparent Things has, alas, been
> by technical problems that are now (we hope) overcome. Let us resume the
> discussion with the acumen and brio displayed by Akiko Nakata. I shall try
> recover and send he postings that were lost in the electroninc circutry.
> ----- Forwarded message from -----
> Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2004 22:05:47 +0900
> 77.3-5: An electric sign, DOPPLER, shifted to violet . . . and illumined
> deadly white papers: The DOPPLER that shifted reappears in HP's nightmare
> "a Doppler shift" Giulia Romeo wears "over her luminous body" (80.27-28)
> as the violet light on her nape: "His square-nailed thumbs digging into
> violet-lit nape" (81.5-6). The "shift" could be another pun when we
> the Italian sports car after which Giulia Romeo is named. The first
> paragraph also includes a verb "finger" alluding to "Fingerman" as well as
> the "deadly white" papers lit by the violet sign. They are the proofs of
> *Tralatitions* HP was checking in the previous chapter. When HP gets off
> sleep he continues proofreading his thought and makes his real life and
> dream a kind of proofs: "that he would have to consult an ophthalmologist
> sometime next mouth," "he promised his uncorrected self that he would
> his daily ration of cigarettes to a couple of heartbeats."
> 77.23-78.01: the old wood's stupid plaint: Cf. "like a stupid pet it [the
> door] whined" (Ch. 2).
> 78.03: Did that wake her?: We suddenly hear the psychoanalyst question HP
> in Ch. 16 we heard his first question "Why did he give up that specific
> remedy for insomnia when he married Armande?" Now we are back to the the
> interrogation that has been suspended since then.
> 78.13-14: the alarmingly effective "Murphy Pill": "Murphy" is the name of
> the king of vegetables in *The Vege-Men's Revenge* (1897). The child book,
> which seems to appear in the end of the novel, is discussed by Don Johnson
> in his "Nabokov's Golliwoggs: Lodi Reads English 1899-1909"
> (
> This could be just a coincidence, but I think one of the two editors of
> McGraw-Hill looking after the publication of TT s also hidden in the
> name: Anne Dyer Murphy. Judging from her queries left on the typescript,
> could be sometimes "alarmingly effective."
> 78.23-25: he too betrayed her . . . premaritally, in terms of time, but
> spatially in this very room: Unusual concept of time and space reminding
> of Vadim, the protagonist of LATH, who confuses direction and duration,
> space and time.
> 79.06: Fitfully: One of the "fit's" we find in the fit-full novel.
> 80.09-10: You'd really hate to watch her changes of facial expression
> the process?: HP really loved to watch her changes of facial expression
> during the process of love making (Ch. 17).
> 80.15-16, 31-34: Flames spurted all around and whatever one saw come
> scarlet strips of vitreous plastic . . . . the selfsame flames moved like
> those tongues of red paper which a concealed ventilator causes to flicker
> around imitation yule logs in the festive shopwindows of snowbound
> childhoods: The dream prefigures the scene of dying HP at the end of the
> novel, where plastic will be glass and the imitation flames the real ones.
> "Those tongues of red paper . . . flicker": awakes the memory of the fire
> the theater where we saw "serpentines of . . . toilet paper" (Ch. 11).
> 80.34: snowbound childhoods: As well as the "country of ice and fire,"
> seem to invade VN's memories of his Russian childhood or perhaps that of
> R.'s in Germany--at least, HP's childhood could not be called "snowbound."
> 81.01-02: a medievalish, sort of Flemish, long-necked shopgirl: Flemish
> paintings are from ADA? Cf. "as if by a Flemish master's hand" (Ch. 15).
> 81.17: Superman carrying a young soul in his embrace!: According to Brian
> Boyd, VN wrote a poem about Superman: "'The Man of Tomorrow's Lament.' On
> Superman's wedding night, the Man of Steel's vigor causes his honeymoon
> suite to explode. Alas, poor Lois! The prim *New Yorker* turned it down,
> no manuscript survives" (*Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years* 44).
> 81.19-20: This is a bravura piece and not a patient's dream, Person: The
> other dream HP described was also dismissed by the mediocre psychoanalyst
> "much too direct" (Ch. 16).
> 81.21: her night table collapsed with the lamp, a tumbler, a book: HP
> to crush the night table shaking off books, an ashtray and an alarm clock
> (Ch. 7) as if he was practicing the fatal scene in another nightmare.
> 81.26: her fair hair spread as if she were flying: HP's father "died
> reaching the floor, as if falling from some great height" (Ch. 5). Their
> deaths are regarded as related with moving--horizontally and
> the air. Though Don was not convinced, I still think Armande's snort in
> beginning of the chapter also suggests the existence of HP's dead father
> around there.
> Flying Armande with her fair hair spreading, connected with the image of
> Satan aroused by the flickering tongues above, might suggest a witch.
> ----- End forwarded message -----

----- End forwarded message -----