Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002497, Fri, 24 Oct 1997 10:29:20 -0700

nature and fusion in Pnin and Speak, Memory (fwd)
From: Kamni Gill <kamni@dolphin.upenn.edu>

In Pnin, American children are described as healthy, tall, indolent and
difficult with no Russian and no sense of nature. What is the narrator's
sense of nature?

Following this description is a scene in which Pnin feels porous and
pregnable and dissolves into the immediate landscape and another of
memory. It is an "awful feeling of sinking and melting into ones physical
sruroundings." A similar scene-they are descriptions of Pnin's cardiac
condition- occurs at the beginning of the novel.
In Speak, Memory the physical description of a fusion with a natural
elements is used to describe extreme happiness and wonder in at least two
places- when Nabokov describes the highest enjoyment of timelessness-
in a landscape selected at random among rare butterflies and their food
plants and when a drop of water is observed falling from the a leaf:
"Tip, leaf, dip relief--the instant it all took to happen seemed to me not
so much a fraction of time as a fissure in it, a missed heartbeat, whcih
was refunded at once by a patter of rhymes: I say "patter"
intentionally, for when a gust of wind did come , the trees would briskly
start to drip all together in as crude an imitation of the the recent
downpour as the stanza I was already muttering resembled the shock of
wonder I had experienced when for a moment heart and leaf had been one."

Are there descriptions of this kind of melting, fusion with a
natural landscape, or in other Nabokov works? I would like to think
more carefully about these passages and others like them.

Thank You

Kamni Gill