Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002393, Sat, 27 Sep 1997 09:55:42 -0700

Re: LOLITA's "Chestnut Lodge" (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 27 Sep 1997 10:28:21 +0400
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@UCSBVM.ucsb.edu>
Subject: Re: LOLITA's "Chestnut Lodge" (fwd)

From: "Peter A. Kartsev" <petr@glas.apc.org>

I risk becoming obnoxious, but I'd like to reply once again to clarify my
position, this time in response to Jeff Edmunds' examples of VN's "dirty"
puns. Both examples are good, but there's a fundamental difference to the
alleged pun in Chestnut Lodge. The "forking" episode is funny, and a funny
joke is a good joke, at least in my book. With "Cunning Stunts" VN makes
fun, in passing, of the kind of "avant-garde hit" that he obviously
detested. The body part that was found in chestnuts, on the contrary, is
not funny in itself, and is neither a joke nor a parody of anything in
that context. I simply pointed out that only immature schoolboys say dirty
words for the sake of saying them and find them funny. (Or hide them for
the sake of hiding.) I don't think anybody would be able to find examples
of that kind of humor in Nabokov. On the other hand, Dolinin's solution
(Chestnut Lodge = nut house) seems to me both pertinent and very

Peter Kartsev.