NABOKV-L post 0000864, Mon, 18 Dec 1995 14:56:42 -0800

EDITORIAL NOTE. Dieter Zimmer, Editor of the splendid German edition of
VN's collected works and translator/annotater of several, poses a question
about _The Real Life of Sebastian Knight_. In passing along his query, I
offer a couple of thoughts. THe book titles themselves have all been
identified and most have some Nabokovian connection. The hidden "melody"
that Nabokov refers to may, of course, may be metaphorical but, on the
other hand, it may be a real tune. Note, for example, the sequence of
(mostly fake) book titles in _Chapter 3 of _Bend Sinister_ which, taken
together, more or less spell out the the injunction that used to hang in
train toilets, i.e., "Passengers will please refrain from passing water
while the train is standing in the station." Someone (was it Ogden Nash?)
wrote a poem using this line which is sung to the melody of "Humoresque."
VN mentions the title joke in his "Preface" to BS, but does NOT mention
the song version. Perhaps all this has some obscure relevance to the
query below. Don Johnson
Dieter E.Zimmer, Erikastrasse 81a, D-20251 Hamburg, Germany
Phone +49-40-488140, Fax +49-40-4606129
eMail 100126.2576@compuserve com
I wonder if anyone has tackled the set of books V. finds on Sebastian's shelf
(RLSK, p. 39):
_Hamlet, La morte d'Arthur, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Doctor Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde, South Wind, The Lady with the Dog, Madame Bovary, The Invisible Man, Le
Temps Retrouve, Anglo-Persian Dictionary, The Author of Trixie, Alice in
Wonderland, Ulysses, About Buying a Horse, King Lear_

It is said that they "seemed to form a vague musical phrase, oddly familiar".
What could it be that makes these titles a familiar melody?
--Dieter E.Zimmer, Hamburg, Germany--