NABOKV-L post 0010836, Sat, 18 Dec 2004 18:01:26 -0800

Fwd: RE: supine vs. prostrate
Nonsense. As if someone who a) had an English vocabulary wider than any
other novelist but Joyce's b) had a particular fascination for the accurate
rendition of gesture and posture, and their local cultural and individual
variants, and c) had a lifelong concern for the precise description of
physiological particularities, arising from, among other things, his passion
for Lepidoptera, would make this mistake.

From the LOLITA SCREENPLAY, p. 41:

HUMBERT So you are Lolita.
LOLITA Yes, that's me.
Turns from sea-star supine to seal prone.

Two magnificent metaphors and a fine defamiliarizing description of a
commonplace action in nine syllables. Tom Stoppard called "(picnic,
lightning)" the greatest parenthesis in literature. This must rank as one of
the greatest stage directions in drama.

Brian Boyd

-----Original Message-----
From: Donald B. Johnson []
Sent: Sunday, December 19, 2004 7:56 AM
Subject: Fwd: supine vs. prostrate

Dear List,

A friend recently made the offhand comment that Vladimir Nabokov, though a
master of the English language, never observed the difference between
"supine" and "prostrate". He didn't have any examples to cite.
Any responses from the list to this charge?

Mike Stauss <>

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