NABOKV-L post 0008580, Mon, 15 Sep 2003 12:22:43 -0700

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Fw: pynchon-l-digest V2 #3549
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Sent: Monday, September 15, 2003 12:00 AM
Subject: pynchon-l-digest V2 #3549


>
> pynchon-l-digest Monday, September 15 2003 Volume 02 : Number
3549
>> ------------------------------
>
> Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2003 13:55:58 -0700
> From: "sZ" <keithsz@concentric.net>
> Subject: NPPF Tulips (Light Codes and Barns, Too)
>
> (Other than a reference to 'tulip-red' shaded swimming suits in _Lolita_,
the
> only references to tulips from _Lolita_ through the end of VN's opus are
to
> be found in _Ada_:
>
> She inclined her head without looking back. In token of partial
> reconciliation, she showed him two sturdy hooks passed into iron rings on
> two tulip-tree trunks between which, before she was born, another boy,
also
> Ivan, her mother's brother, used to sling a hammock in which he slept in
> midsummer when the nights became really sultry - this was the latitude of
> Sicily, after all.
>
> The males of the firefly, a small luminous beetle, more like a wandering
> star than a winged insect, appeared on the first warm black nights of
Ardis,
> one by one, here and there, then in a ghostly multitude, dwindling again
to
> a few individuals as their quest came to its natural end. Van watched them
> with the same pleasurable awe he had experienced as a child, when, lost in
> the purple crepuscule of an Italian hotel garden, in an alley of
cypresses,
> he supposed they were golden ghouls or the passing fancies of the garden.
> Now as they softly flew, apparently straight, crossing and recrossing the
> darkness around him, each flashed his pale-lemon light every five seconds
or
> so, signaling in his own specific rhythm (quite different from that of an
> allied species, flying with Photinus ladorensis, according to Ada, at
Lugano
> and Luga) to his grass-domiciled female pulsating in photic response after
> taking a couple of moments to verify the exact type of light code he used.
> The presence of those magnificent little animals, delicately illuminating,
> as they passed, the fragrant night, filled Van with a subtle exhilaration
> that Ada's entomology seldom evoked in him - maybe in result of the
abstract
> scholar's envy whch a naturalist's immediate knowledge sometimes
provokes.
> The hammock, a comfortable oblong nest, reticulated his naked body either
> under the weeping cedar that sprawled over one corner of a lawn, and
granted
> a partial shelter in case of a shower, or, on safer nights, between two
> tulip trees (where a former summer guest, with an opera cloak over his
> clammy nightshirt, had awoken once because a stink bomb had burst among
the
> instruments in the horsecart, and striking a match, Uncle Van had seen the
> bright blood blotching his pillow).
>
> That night because of the bothersome blink of remote sheet lightning
through
> the black hearts of his sleeping-arbor, Van had abandoned his two tulip
> trees and gone to bed in his room. The tumult in the house and the maid's
> shriek interrupted a rare, brilliant, dramatic dream, whose subject he was
> unable to recollect later, although he still held it in a saved jewel box.
> As usual, he slept naked, and wavered now between pulling on a pair of
> shorts, or draping himself in his tartan lap robe. He chose the second
> course, rattled a matchbox, lit his bedside candle, and swept out of his
> room, ready to save Ada and all her larvae. The corridor was dark,
somewhere
> the dachshund was barking ecstatically. Van gleaned from subsiding cries
> that the so-called 'baronial barn,' a huge beloved structure three miles
> away, was on fire. Fifty cows would have been without hay and LariviХre
> without her midday coffee cream had it happened later in the season. Van
> felt slighted. They've all gone and left me behind, as old Fierce mumbles
at
> the end of the Cherry Orchard
>
> She had been casting sidelong glances, during that dreadful talk, and now
> saw pure, fierce Van under the tulip tree, quite a way off, one hand on
his
> hip, head thrown back, drinking beer from a bottle. She left the pool
edge,
> with its corpse, and moved toward the tulip tree making a strategic detour
> between the authoress, who - still unaware of what they were doing to her
> novel - was dozing in a deckchair (out of whose wooden arms her chubby
> fingers grew like pink mushrooms), and the leading lady, now puzzling over
a
> love scene where the young chatelaine's 'radiant beauty' was mentioned.
>
> With the fading of that fugitive flame his mood changed. Something should
be
> said, a command should be given, the matter was serious or might become
> serious. They were now about to enter Gamlet, the little Russian village,
> from which a birch-lined road led quickly to Ardis. A small procession of
> kerchiefed peasant nymphs, unwashed, no doubt, but adorably pretty with
> naked shiny shoulders and high-divided plump breasts tuliped up by their
> corsets, walked past through a coppice, singing an old ditty in their
> touching English:
>
> Thorns and nettles
> For silly girls:
> Ah, torn the petals,
> Ah, spilled the pearls!
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2003 15:14:22 -0700
> From: "sZ" <keithsz@concentric.net>
> Subject: Re: NPPF Tulips (Light Codes and Barns, Too)
>
> (Other than a reference to 'tulip-red' shaded swimming suits in _Lolita_,
> the
> only references to tulips from _Lolita_ through the end of VN's opus are
to
> be found in _Ada_:
>
> NB: And Pale Fire of course.
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2003 16:41:55 -0700
> From: "sZ" <keithsz@concentric.net>
> Subject: NPPF More On Seizures - LATH
>
> From Book 7/Chapter 2 of _Look at the Harlequins!_
>
> At the start of the great seizure, I must have been
totally
> incapacitated, from top to toe, while my mind, the images racing through
me,
> the tang of thought, the genius of insomnia, remained as strong and
active
> as ever (except for the blots in between). By the time I had been flown
to
> the Lecouchant Hospital in coastal France, highly recommended by Dr.
Genfer,
> a Swiss relative of its director, I became aware of certain curious
details:
> from the head down I was paralyzed in symmetrical patches separated by
a
> geography of weak tactility. When in the course of that first week
my
> fingers "awoke" (a circumstance that stupefied and even angered
the
> Lecouchant sages, experts in dementia paralydea, to such a degree that
they
> advised you to rush me off to some more exotic and
broadminded
> institution---which you did) I derived much entertainment from mapping
my
> sensitive spots which were always situated in exact opposition, e.g. on
both
> sides of my forehead, on the jaws, orbital parts, breasts, testicles,
knees,
> flanks. At an average stage of observation, the average size of each spot
of
> life never exceeded that of Australia (I felt gigantic at times) and
never
> dwindled (when I dwindled myself) below the diameter of a medal of
medium
> merit, at which level I perceived my entire skin as that of a leopard
> painted by a meticulous lunatic from a broken home.
> In some connection with those "tactile symmetries" (about which I
am
> still attempting to correspond with a not too responsive medical
journal,
> swarming with Freudians), I would like to place the first
pictorial
> compositions, flat, primitive images, which occurred in duplicate, right
and
> left of my traveling body, on the opposite panels of my hallucinations.
If,
> for example, Annette boarded a bus with her empty basket on the left of
my
> being, she came out of that bus on my right with a load of vegetables,
a
> royal cauliflower presiding over the cucumbers. As the days passed,
the
> symmetries got replaced by more elaborate inter-responses, or reappeared
in
> miniature within the limits of a given image. Picturesque episodes
now
> accompanied my mysterious voyage. I glimpsed Bel rummaging after work
amidst
> a heap of naked babies at the communal day-nursery, in frantic search
for
> her own firstborn, now ten months old, and recognizable by the
symmetrical
> blotches of red eczema on its sides and little legs. A
glossy-haunched
> swimmer used one hand to brush away from her face wet strands of hair,
and
> pushed with the other (on the other side of my mind) the raft on which
I
> lay, a naked old man with a rag around his foremast, gliding supine into
a
> full moon whose snaky reflections rippled among the water lilies. A
long
> tunnel engulfed me, half-promised a circlet of light at its far
end,
> half-kept the promise, revealing a publicity sunset, but I never reached
it,
> the tunnel faded, and a familiar mist took over again. As was "done"
that
> season, groups of smart idlers visited my bed, which had slowed down in
a
> display hall where Ivor Black in the role of a fashionable young
doctor
> demonstrated me to three actresses playing society belles: their
skirts
> ballooned as they settled down on white chairs, and one lady, indicating
my
> groin, would have touched me with her cold fan, had not the learned
> Moor struck it aside with his ivory pointer, whereupon my raft resumed
its
> lone glide.
> Whoever charted my destiny had moments of triteness. At times my
swift
> course became a celestial affair at an allegorical altitude that
bore
> unpleasant religious connotations--unless simply reflecting
transportation
> of cadavers by commercial aircraft. A certain notion of daytime
and
> nighttime, in more or less regular alternation, gradually established
itself
> in my mind as my grotesque adventure reached its final phase. Diurnal
and
> nocturnal effects were rendered obliquely at first with nurses and
other
> stagehands going to extreme lengths in the handling of movable
properties,
> such as the bouncing of fake starlight from reflecting surfaces or
the
> daubing of dawns here and there at suitable intervals. It had never
occurred
> to me before that, historically, art, or at least artifacts, had
preceded,
> not followed, nature; yet that is exactly what happened in my case. Thus,
in
> the mute remoteness clouding around me, recognizable sounds were produced
at
> first optically in the pale margin of the film track during the taking
of
> the actual scene (say, the ceremony of scientific feeding);
eventually
> something about the running ribbon tempted the ear to replace the eye;
and
> finally hearing returned--with a vengeance. The first crisp nurse-rustle
was
> a thunderclap; my first belly wamble, a crash of cymbals.
> I owe thwarted obituarists, as well as all lovers of medical lore,
some
> clinical elucidations. My lungs and my heart acted, or were induced to
act,
> normally; so did my bowels, those buffoons in the cast of our
private
> miracle plays. My frame lay flat as in an Old Master's Lesson of
Anatomy.
> The prevention of bedsores, especially at the Lecouchant Hospital,
was
> nothing short of a mania, explicable, maybe, by a desperate urge
to
> substitute pillows and various mechanical devices for the rational
treatment
> of an unfathomable disease. My body was "sleeping" as a giant's foot
might
> be "sleeping"; more accurately, however, my condition was a horrible
> form of protracted (twenty nights!) insomnia with my mind as
consistently
> alert as that of the Sleepless Slav in some circus show I once read about
in
> The Graphic. I was not even a mummy; I was--in the beginning, at
least--the
> longitudinal section of a mummy, or rather the abstraction of its
thinnest
> possible cut. What about the head?--readers who are all head must
be
> clamoring to be told. Well, my brow was like misty glass (before two
lateral
> spots got cleared somehow or other); my mouth stayed mute and benumbed
until
> I realized I could feel my tongue--feel it in the phantom form of the
kind
> of air bladder that might help a fish with his respiration problems, but
was
> useless to me. I had some sense of duration and direction--two things
which
> a beloved creature seeking to help a poor madman with the whitest of
lies,
> affirmed, in a later world, were quite separate phases of a
single
> phenomenon. Most of my cerebral aqueduct (this is getting a
little
> technical) seemed to descend wedgewise, after some derailment or
inundation,
> into the structure housing its closest ally--which oddly enough is also
our
> humblest sense, the easiest and sometimes the most gratifying to
dispense
> with--and, oh, how I cursed it when I could not close it to ether
or
> excrements, and, oh (cheers for old "oh"), how I thanked it for
crying
> "Coffee!" or "Plage!" (because an anonymous drug smelled like the cream
Iris
> used to rub my back with in Cannice half a century ago!).
> Now comes a snaggy bit: I do not know if my eyes remained always
wide
> open "in a glazed look of arrogant stupor" as imagined by a reporter who
got
> as far as the corridor desk. But I doubt very much I could
blink--and
> without the oil of blinking the motor of sight could hardly have run.
Yet,
> somehow, during my glide down those illusory canals and cloudways, and
right
> over another continent, I did glimpse off and on, through
subpalpebral
> mirages, the shadow of a hand or the glint of an instrument. As to my
> world of sound, it remained solid fantasy. I heard strangers discuss
in
> droning voices all the books I had written or thought I had written,
for
> everything they mentioned, titles, the names of characters, every
phrase
> they shouted was preposterously distorted by the delirium of
demonic
> scholarship. Louise regaled the company with one of her good
stories--those
> I called "name hangers" because they only seemed to reach this or
that
>
> point--a quid pro quo, say, at a party--but were really meant to
introduce
> some high-born "old friend" of hers, or a glamorous politician, or a
cousin
> of that politician. Learned papers were read at fantastic symposiums. In
the
> year of grace 1798, Gavrila Petrovich Kamenev, a gifted young poet,
was
> heard chuckling as he composed his Ossianic pastiche Slovo o polku
Igoreve.
> Somewhere in Abyssinia drunken Rimbaud was reciting to a surprised
Russian
> traveler the poem Le Tramway ivre (...En blouse rouge, ? face en pis
de
> vache, le bourreau me trancha la t?te aussi...). Or else I'd hear
the
> pressed repeater hiss in a pocket of my brain and tell the time, the
rime,
> the meter that who could dream I'd hear again?
>
> ------------------------------
>
> Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2003 19:39:00 -0700
> From: "sZ" <keithsz@concentric.net>
> Subject: NPPF From the Nabokov-List
>
> >From Dmitri Nabokov
> Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2003 9:33 AM
>
> I know we shall all be grateful to David Morris for finally unmasking VN
as
> a liguistic [sic] showoff. I, personally, would be grateful if he would
> illustrate his vision with a few specific instances. That would help me
read
> my father with a new perspective, and finally give me insight into
locutions
> whose meaning, it seems, has escaped me ever since, when I was fourteen,
he
> first gave me a novel of his to read. It was Bend Sinister and, naОvely, I
> thought I understood most of it, partly because I was then studying
> Shakespeare. When I was stumped, he was always ready to expain, but, since
> Mr. Morris has at last established that Father was little more than a
> nacissistic nobody, I see now why he never once owned up to having said
> something for the sake of showing off. Live and learn. While he's at it,
> Mr. Morris might clarify his assessment of "so many quotes" from VN.
>
> With utmost respect for such perspicacity,
>
> Dmitri Nabokov
>
> ------------------------------
>
> End of pynchon-l-digest V2 #3549
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