Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002306, Tue, 26 Aug 1997 14:00:14 -0700

Re: Suggestions for Nabokovian nuptials? (fwd)
EDITORIAL NOTE. It would doubtless be indiscreet to inquire the respective
ages of bride and groom..... More seriously though, the poetry might
provide something good.
I distinctly remember a character proposing marriage by awkwardly
(approximately) "the contents of my cuff and the queen of hearts."
Unfortunately I don't remember the book or story. Anyone?

Trent G. Nicol
From one Nicol to another:

This sounds like a slightly garbled passage from *The Defense*,
but unaccountably I don't have a copy in my office at this moment.
--Charles Nicol
From bwalter@dobson.ozarks.edu Tue Aug 26 13:56:48 1997

Two more possibilities:

1. From THE GIFT, not quite half-way through the third chapter (p. 176ff
in the Vintage paperback), a lovely description of Fyodor awaiting Zina,
Berlin providing plenty of arresting details for backdrop.

An excerpt:

"Waiting for her arrival. She was always late -- and always came by
another road than he. Thus it transpired that even Berlin could be
mysterious. Within the linden's bloom the streetlight winks. A dark and
honeyed hush envelops us. Across the curb one's passing shadow slinks:
across a stump a sable ripples thus. There water gleams, there Venice
vaguely shows. Look at that street -- it runs to China straight, and
yonder star above the Volga glows! Oh, swear to me to put in dreams your
trust, and to believe in fantasy alone, and never let your soul in prison
rust, nor stretch your arm and say: a wall of stone."

2. From SPEAK, MEMORY, chapter fifteen, "Gardens and Parks" (pp. 296-7 in
the Vintage paperback), the pararaph that begins, "Whenever I start
thinking of my love for a person. . . "

An excerpt:

"It cannot be helped; I must know where I stand, where you and my son
stand. When that slow-motion, silent explosion of love takes place in me,
unfolding its melting fringes and overwhelming me with the sense of
something much vaster, much more enduring and powerful than the
accumulation of matter or energy in any imaginable cosmos, then my mind
cannot but pinch itself to see if it is really awake."

Brian Walter, Assistant Professor
University of the Ozarks
Clarksville, AR 72830