Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001366, Thu, 24 Oct 1996 17:06:05 -0700

Three questions (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: 22 Oct 96 20:47:27 EDT
From: Vitaly Kupisk <104361.1700@CompuServe.COM>

Dear Nabokovians,

Can anyone help me with the following questions:

1. On line 370 of "Pale Fire" Hazel asks, "Mother , what's 'grimpen'?". While
"chtonic" and "sempiternal" are easily looked up, I haven't been able to find
"grimpen" in OED, Webster 2, or Webster 3 (unless it's a form of "grimp"), so I
am puzzled as to what Sybil's "guarded scholium" could have been. And what is
that poem Hazel is reading, after all? I think THAT's an engaging and
compelling question...

2. In "Nikolay Gogol", VN compares the ephemeral homunculi popping out of
"Government Inspector" characters' speech to " the little firm heads of witch
doctors bursting out of the body of an African explorer in a famous short
story". What story?

3. And the more nebulous question, rather an invitation to speculate: "NG", New
Directions, p.79 there is a long simile from "Dead Souls", and VN writes that in
this simile "a complete circle is described, and after his complicated and
dangerous somersault, with no net spread under him, as other acrobatic authors
have, Gogol manages to twist back ...". Does anyone wish to speculate what
kind of stylistic net in which authors' use Nabokov had in mind?


Vitaly Kupisk,
Berkeley, CA