Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004508, Mon, 18 Oct 1999 19:33:04 -0700

Hairy Hermaphrodite: Humbert's Hand (fwd)
Having now come across these alternative suggestions, masterbation versus a
literal "critter", I'm more likely to suspect that the sexual meaning is the
most "on" here. However, it always possible the secondary allusion to a
real critter could have been there at the same time, Nabokov being an
entomologist. But, compared with "congress" etc. etc. I think the purely
entomological meaning pales. Except it might be useful to point out here
that the"diplopoid" branch (several Orders) of centipedes are the ones with
big fat, pink, weiner-like bodies and very short legs, hardly visible at
all, and IN THESE, sexual contact does take place as a part of mating. So,
re the larger frame of reference in Nabokov's mind here, who knows. I
think it is in Ada that a character says she loves "everything that crawls"
and goes on to lay out some images that are obviously phallic re
caterpillar/centipedal like critters. Its fertile ground, that's for sure.

Kurt Johnson