Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025552, Sat, 19 Jul 2014 01:13:07 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] : Re: [NABOKV-L] Curious links to life's "forks"
in ADA
Jansy Mello: It seems to me that already in "Bend Sinister" there are
examples of a literary employ of Bergson's "duration." In this case it's
also possible that we'll find bergsonian developments in "Lolita," following
Jacqueline Hamrit's example about bifurcations and forkings.

V. Nabokov describes "taming time" by holding onto some quotidian but very
personal items:

"On this particular night, just after they had tried to turn over to me her
purse, her comb, her cigarette holder, I found and touched this - a selected
combination, details of the bas-relief. I had never touched this particular
knob before and shall never find it again. This moment of conscious contact
holds a drop of solace. The emergency brake of time. Whatever the present
moment is, I have stopped it. Too late. In the course of our, let me see,
twelve, twelve and three months, years of life together, I ought to have
immobilized by this simple method millions of moments; paying perhaps
terrific fines, but stopping the train. Say, why did you do it? the popeyed
conductor might ask. Because I liked the view. Because I wanted to stop
those speeding trees and the path twisting between them. By stepping on its
receding tail. What happened to her would perhaps not have happened, had I
been in the habit of stopping this or that bit of our common life,
prophylactically, prophetically, letting this or that moment rest and
breathe in peace. Taming time. Giving her pulse respite. Pampering life,
life - our patient." *

He also makes a reference to texture (fwd), but it's to the "intimate
texture of space" not time:

"an oblong puddle invariably acquiring the same form after every shower
because of the constant spatulate shape of a depression in the ground.
Possibly, something of the kind may be said to occur in regard to the
imprint we leave in the intimate texture of space."

(I didn't check this in the novel now, but weren't there other recurring
oblong, bean-shaped puddles (milk?)? Did VN omit them from his fwd because
they'd spoil the neat parallel between a depression in the ground and an
imprint left in the texture of space? Am I confusing two different issues?)


*- Cp. with his words in "Speak, Memory": "I not only go through the same
agony and delight that my uncle did, but have to cope with an additional
burden-the recollection I have of him, reliving his childhood with the help
of those very books. I see again my schoolroom in Vyra, the blue roses of
the wallpaper, the open window. Its reflection fills the oval mirror above
the leathern couch where my uncle sits, gloating over a tattered book. A
sense of security, of well-being, of summer warmth pervades my memory. That
robust reality makes a ghost of the present. The mirror brims with
brightness; a bumblebee has entered the room and bumps against the ceiling.
Everything is as it should be, nothing will ever change, nobody will ever

-------- Original Message --------


Re: [NABOKV-L] Curious links to life's "forks" in ADA


Fri, 18 Jul 2014 07:24:34 +0200


Jacqueline HAMRIT <mailto:jacqueline.hamrit@univ-lille3.fr>




Vladimir Nabokov Forum <mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>

- I had noticed the presence of bifurcations and forkings in _Lolita_.
Remember: "When I try to analyze my own cravings, motives, actions and so
forth, I surrender to a sort of retrospective imagination which feeds the
analytic faculty with boundless alternatives and which causes each
visualized route to fork and re-fork without end in the maddeningly complex
prospect of my past." (Part1, chapter 4, p.13 of _The annotated Lolita_)

Jacqueline Hamrit

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