NABOKV-L post 0007063, Sat, 9 Nov 2002 15:48:33 -0800

Subject
Fw: ==- The Demons of Our Pity (REPEAL IF!) -==
Date
Body
----- Original Message -----
From: "Thomas Bolt -- b0sh0tmalt" <bolt@tbolt.com>
To: "Vladimir Nabokov Forum" <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>

>
> ---------------- Message requiring your approval (114
lines) ------------------
> What do demons do?
>
> They torment.*
>
> Hazel's suffering, at close quarters,
> is torment to her parents, who try
> to help but fail to do much good.
>
> The privacy of pain is an important
> theme in N (in PNIN the theme has
> probably its most specific statement).
>
> Hazel's suffering is not made easier
> by her parents' appreciation of her
> potential, so often undercut by
> "new defeats." Nor would it be
> made easier by their hopes for her.
>
> The "demons of our pity" torture
> the Shades with hope.
>
> The password is Pity because cruelty,
> in its many disguises, is never far
> away in N, particularly in the novels
> written in English. A more interesting
> question, for me, is **to what is Pity
> the password?**
>
> I would say consciousness. But
> increased consciousness, in some
> situations, must at times bring a
> keener sense of pain.
>
>
>
> ~ T
>
>
>
>
> ====
> *
> My favorite description of Hell, from
> the resplendent book of a Nabokov
> admirer:
>
> "The Bible has give the evidence,"
> Johnson said darkly, "and if you die
> and go there you burn forever."
> The child leaned forward.
> "...The dead are judged and the
> wicked are damned. They weep and
> gnash their teeth while they burn,"
> he continued, "and it's everlasting
> darkness."
> The child's mouth opened. His
> eyes appeared to grow hollow.
> "Satan runs it," Johnson said.
>
> --"The Lame Shall Enter First"
> Flannery O'Connor
>
>
> PS
> Beauty + Pity = Art, to N a form of
> consciousness.
>
>
> =========
> Indeed! Although it hadn't occurred to me until you pointed it
> out,
> > Shade's poem containing a reference to "demons of pity" is, or
> at the very
> > least could be argued as, evidence for your position that
> Shade and
> Kinbote
> > are the same person. Part of a conversation between Shade and
> Kinbote
> > about the nature of sin runs as follows:
> >
> > KINBOTE: Tut-tut. Do you also deny that there are sins?
> > SHADE: I can name only two: murder, and the deliberate
> infliction of pain.
> > KINBOTE: Then a man spending his life in absolute solitude
> could not be a
> > sinner?
> > SHADE: He could torture animals. He could poison the springs
> on his
> > island. He could denounce an innocent man in a posthumous
> manifesto.
> > KINBOTE: And so the password is -?
> > SHADE: Pity.
> >
> > Shade can hardly call pity the password in a discussion of
> what does and
> > does not consitute sin and also regard it as demonic, and the
> apparent
> > contradiction could be explained if the Kinbote personality
> "breaks in" to
> > Shade's poem at times.
> >
> > Interestingly, this is one of the moments at which Shade's
> viewpoint (on
> > what are sins) appears close to VN's own, although whether
> this has any
> > significance to the subject at hand I don't know. You could
> also find, in
> > the posthumous manifesto, Shade foreshadowing Kinbote's later
> treatment of
> him.
> >
> > Nick.
> >
>