Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001512, Wed, 4 Dec 1996 16:33:31 -0800

Re: small hairy hermaphrodites (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------

EDITOR'S NOTE. Gennady Barabtarlo <gragb@showme.missouri.edu>, is the
author of _Phantom of Fact: A Reader's Guide to PNIN_ and _Aerial View:
Essays on Nabokov's Art and Metaphysics_.

>>Vitaly Kupisk (104361.1700@compuserve.com) takes a shot at it:
>>1) Hairy Humbert's hand, I presume, that pitiful pervert...
>Yes! This is entirely plausible, and well spotted

No -- it is entirely implausible, to my mind: why "small"? why
hermaphroditic? why a "total stranger"?


Vitaly Kupisk belabors:
Hermaphroditic, because it can gratify man's sex as well as woman's; "a total
stranger", because, as Humbert was awakened by his own masturbation from his
uneasy sleep, his hand acted (and, perhaps, at the moment of awakening, looked)
quite apart from his consciousness.
And, Prof. Barabtarlo, "small", because Humbert's hand's size is smaller than an
average hairy hermaphrodite he would expect to wake up copulating with.

On the latest Steven Barnat question:
Humbert's mishearing, rather than manufacturing the sentence is an interesting
possibility (although he manufactures plenty, like "And you can sleep with my
wife"). As far as other sources go, a man disguising himself as a woman in
order to screw around is a common Renaisance motif, I believe (is there one in

Vitaly Kupisk,
Berkeley, CA