Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0008815, Wed, 29 Oct 2003 08:50:48 -0800

Re: ADA and Orphic mysteries (fwd)
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Date: Monday, October 27, 2003 8:32 AM -0500
From: Mary Bellino <iambe@rcn.com>
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@listserv.ucsb.edu>
Subject: Re: ADA and Orphic mysteries

------------------ From Mary Bellino (iambe@rcn.com):

It may not be accurate to say that the Orphic religion (if
indeed there was such a thing apart from the Orphic texts
and itinerant sorcerers) was "opposed to he official
religion of the state as represented by the Olympic gods";
the trend in recent scholarship has been to link Orphism
with the Bacchic and Eleusinian cults, and of course both
Dionysus and Demeter are central to ancient Athenian

There is a large scholarly bibliography on Orphism, and an
even larger unscholarly one (internet sources are
particularly suspect). A good recent survey article is
Robert Parker, "Early Orphism," in _The Greek World_, ed.
Anton Powell (Routledge 1995) 483-510.

Orpheus himself appears in Nabokov's work from time to time
(for example, the statue of Orpheus in "The Return of
Chorb") but generally the allusion is to the
Orpheus-Eurydice story (Ovid Met. 10-11).


> I was wondering why VN´s short-stories are not given a
> special place for discussion.They may bring out certain
> aspects of VN´s cosmological views more clearly than we
> can reach through his longer and more complex novels,
> where we may be torn between following his
> puzzle/mathematical propositions, his anagrammatic word
> games and his magical suspension of scenery creating an
> almost palpable unreality.
> I have no idea why I ended up researching Orphic rites
> yesterday and it amazed me to find a similarity with some
> of VN´s ideas about Terran/Antiterran relationships.
> Orphic religion had apparently been opposed to the
> official religion of the state as represented by the
> Olympic gods and Homeric cosmology. Their emphasis in
> cyclic versus historical time, time and memory also
> stimulated me to research more deeply connections between
> what is being developped in ADA and Orphic and Eleusian
> mysteries.
> Jansy

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D. Barton Johnson