NABOKV-L post 0000436, Tue, 24 Jan 1995 10:12:09 -0800

FW: Khirgiz Light (was Re: Gravity's Rainbow) (fwd)
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following Pynchon-Nabokov item was forwarded to
NABOKV-L and I thought it might be of interest. I don't know about the
item below but Pynchon (who was a student in VN's classes at Cornell)
does make references to VN here and there in his fiction. (See Maurice
Couturier's recent article on VN and the post-modernists.) Some
Nabokov-Pynchon fan outthere might check it out and let us know the
results. A note for NABOKV-L or THE NABOKOVIAN? My thanks to Jan Klimkowshi
for forwarding the item. DBJ

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 95 12:29:00 PST

JOHN M. KRAFFT forwarded Andrew Dinn from r.a.b:

> X-News: miavx1 rec.arts.books:112658
> From: (Andrew Dinn)
> Subject:Khirgiz Light (was Re: Gravity's Rainbow)
> Date: Thu, 19 Jan 1995 14:14:10 GMT
> Message-ID:<>
> SubGenius ( wrote:
> ... how there are no pucker mysteries in `Gravity's Rainbow' ...
> : Apart from
> : the Kirghiz
> : Light,
> : Yours etc.,
> I have been wondering about this wrt the Khirgiz Tale in Nabokov's
> `The Gift'. This is the story of a prince who offers to marry some
> woman and she agrees if he will fill a small bag with riches. He pours
> in half a kingdom or two of gold and jewels only to find the bag still
> empty. Finally, an adjacent crone (or somesuch) advises him to throw
> in a handful of dirt and lo, the bag closes. She explains that the bag
> is an eye which wants to encompass the whole world. Perhaps the
> Khirgiz Light is the light which reveals the whole world rather than
> that which merely illuminates our own small portion of it. Various
> bits of Buddhism could serve to pad out this image.
> I am quite intrigued by the idea that TP used Nabokov's novel as a
> springboard into Khirgizia - Nabokov's description of the trek into
> the Khirgiz mountains is the sort of window dressing which could lead
> to further research and later scene setting for Tchitcherine's sortie.

I posted a followup to r.a.b to note that `Mondaugen' as a
French/German pun sounds mighty like the Khirgiz `whatchagot in the
bag, dad (C Woody Woodpecker 1947)'. N.B. Nabokov's The Gift was first
published in translation in 1962 and since Mondaugen appears in V this
cuts things a bit close. Still it might be a later tie-in or maybe
Pynchon heard the Khirgiz tale earlier thanks to Nabokov readers at
Cornell (or even from Nabokov himself).