Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0005552, Tue, 17 Oct 2000 13:21:14 -0700

Fw: future recollection?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Bennett" <mab@straussandasher.com>

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I sent this message on Friday and it was not posted - perhaps as the result
of the server problem?

Here are two more passages in which this lovely idea of "future
recollection" is mentioned:

In Lolita, as Humbert is contemplating drowning Charlotte in Hourglass

"So there was Charlotte swimming on with dutiful awkwardness (she was a
mediocre mermaid), but not without a certain solemn pleasure (for was not
her merman by her side?); and as I watched, with the stark lucidity of a
future recollection (you know--trying to see things as you will remember
having seen them), . . . (Lolita, p. 86 of the Vintage paperback.)

And in The Gift, the penultimate paragraph of the novel ends with a less
direct, but more poetic, evocation of the gift of future recollection:

"Will it really happen tonight? Will it really happen now? The weight and
threat of bliss. When I walk with you like this, ever so slowly, and hold
you by the shoulder, everything slightly sways, my head hums, and I feel
like dragging my feet; my left slipper falls off my heel, we crawl, dawdle,
dwindle in a mist--now we are almost all melted . . . .And one day we shall
recall all this--the lindens, and the shadow on the wall, and a poodle's
unclipped claws tapping over the flagstones of the night. And the star,
star. And here is the square and the dark church with the yellow light of
its clock. And here, on the corner, the house. (The Gift, p. 366 of the
Vintage paperback.)