NABOKV-L post 0010663, Mon, 29 Nov 2004 09:20:12 -0800

Fwd: TT-24 Introductory Notes

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Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 20:52:06 +0900
From: Akiko Nakata <>
Subject: TT-24 Introductory Notes

I would like Don to complement my notes fully. Without his fascinating
papers cited below, I could not have figured out these few things--needless
to say, there are mysteries even now for me. -- Akiko

92.02: on the other, *tralatitiously* speaking, hand [my italics]: clearly
shows who is speaking. Cf. "Easy, you know, does it, son" (Ch. 26).

92.06-07: even if the lunette has actually closed around your neck, and the
cretinous crowd holds its breath: I do not know the reason, but the narrator
suddenly begins to talk about an execution on a guillotine. Together with
the "(now Lord) X," he sounds referring to the French Revolution. After a
long interval, we are reminded of *The Scarlet Pimpernel* in which Sir Percy
and his wife Marguerite, "now Lady X [by marriage]," do secret maneuvers to
save her brother, Armand St. Just, from the guillotine.

I wrote before that Sir Percy Blakeney aka Scarlet Pimpernel is probably in
"Percy." I could show another thread which might connect *SP* with *TT*.
Rereading *SP*, I noticed something I had missed as a child. Marguerite and
Armand are too affectionate to each other to be just a brother and a sister.
Marguerite says, "Armand was all in all to me! We had no parents, and
brought one another up. He was my little father, and I, his tiny mother; we
loved one another so. . . " (Ch. 16); "Remember, dear, I have only you
[Armand]. . . to . . . to care for me. . ." (Ch. 7). Of course, they are not
overtly incestuous. And the criminal "Armand Rave" of Ch. 5 is not
incestuous himself, but strangled his boyfriend's incestuous sister. But I
feel something more than coincidence in the trio, Percy, Armand and his too
loving sister. I suggested before that "Armand Rave" could be from a novel
by Jean Genet, but now I think Armand St. Just is more probable.

92.17-19: On the printed page the words "likely" and "actually" should be
italicized too, at least *slightly*: Please read Don's "Typographic Poetics:
*Transparent Things*"

93.01-02: the vegetables of our first picture book: See Don's "Nabokov's
Golliwoggs: Lodi Reads English 1899-1909" I would like to just add
that the letters in the picturebook are italicized imitating the legs of the
vegetables. Don would clarify it.
93.04-06: their spinning *ronde* going faster and faster and gradually
forming a transparent ring of banded colors around a dead person or planet:
Cf. "The vege-men become frenzied in their dance of vengeance. 'Swifter and
swifter twine their clinging feet, / A Dervish dance by color made complete,
/ Only a tinted whirlpool now they seem, / The whirring sound becomes the
storm-wind's scream. / The yellow light / is blurred to sight, / 'Tis like
the nightmare of a troubled dream.'''(*The Vege-Men's Revenge*); "Rings of
blurred colors circled around him, reminding him briefly of a childhood
picture in a frightening book about triumphant vegetables whirling faster
and faster around a nightshirted boy trying desperately to awake from the
iridescent dizziness of dream life" (Ch. 26).

93.06: around a dead person or planet: Cf. "from live cells to dead stars"
(Ch. 4).

93.07-08: Another thing we are not supposed to do is to explain the
inexplicable: sounds to be based on the famous conclusion of *Tractatus
Logico-Philosophicus*: "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in

93.19-20: (the dead are good mixers, that's quite certain, at least): The
dead seem to mix than they used to be, at least. *TT* itself is a good
"mixer" which mixes many things from VN's life and works.

93.21: a bad man but a good philosopher: Some of those who knew Wittgenstein
in person would say that.

93.27-30: It is generally assumed that if man were to establish the fact of
survival after death, he would also solve, or be on the way to solving, the
riddle of Being. Alas, the two problems do not necessarily overlap or blend:
I cannot help remembering Wittgenstein: "Not only is there no guarantee of
the temporal immortality of the human soul, that is to say of its eternal
survival after death; but, in any case, this assumption completely fails to
accomplish the purpose for which it has always been intended. Or is some
riddle solved by my surviving for ever? Is not this eternal life itself as
much of a riddle as our present life? The solution of the riddle of life in
space and time lies outside space and time" (*TLP* 6.4312).

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