Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025626, Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:59:19 -0400

Re: Two Johns Ray
Naturalist John Ray was the Ray who interested VN. RHB

On Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 7:06 PM, Carolyn Kunin <chaiselongue@att.net> wrote:

> *De:* Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] *Em nome de *Jansy
> Mello
> *Enviada em:* segunda-feira, 11 de agosto de 2014 22:28
> *Para:* [log in to unmask]
> <https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?LOGON=A3%3Dind1408%26L%3DNABOKV-L%26E%3Dquoted-printable%26P%3D1977046%26B%3D------%253D_NextPart_000_07ED_01CFB5B5.48966E80%26T%3Dtext%252Fhtml%3B%2520charset%3Dutf-8%26pending%3D>
> *Assunto:* [NABOKV-L] RES: [NABOKV-L] Parhelia
> *Carolyn Kunin*: “ The parhelion reminds me of two related optical
> phenomena, the "Brocken Spectre" and "solar glory," which reinforce - to
> myself, that is - the possibility that VN was referencing Js. Hogg's *Confessions
> of a Justified Sinner...”*
> *Jansy Mello*: What an amazing – and pertinent- link between Js. Hogg’s
> novel and “Pale Fire”, not to mention the Wikipedia photograph of a
> brocken spectre halloed by glory and a link to a “fourth wall”.
> Do you think there’s another reference to be found in “Lolita” ( HH’s
> “confessions” that were edited and prefaced by John Ray Jr)?
> Dear Jansy,
> Today I do have something to add to your question about John Ray Jr, as he
> is designated in the Preface to *Lolita*. I am considering the purchase
> of a 1674 book by one John Ray, entitled "A Collection of English VVords
> Not Commonly Used", not thinking there was any relation to VN or Lolita.
> However, in checking out John Ray (1627-1705) I discovered that he was a
> naturalist and that his name was sometimes spelled Wray, which did ring a
> hazy bell, since I have always felt that Lolita's "wreal" surname was
> Hayes. Not sure if this has ever been discussed (the archives reveal that
> it has), and it has even been reported that "according to *John* *Ray*,
> Jr., 'Haze' only rhymes with the heroine's real surname" - a very rich
> rhyme, indeed.
> But in pursuing the question of any possible relationship between 17th
> century John [w]Ray and John Ray Jr., I have found two candidates for
> references possibly intended by VN.
> 1) John Ray or Wray: (NB the initials form "Jr") An eminent naturalist and
> far ahead of his time especially in the field of fossils. One of his books
> was published byJohn Hayes, and the other combines a study of words with a
> catalogue of birds (shades of *Pale Fire*) and fishes along with minerals
> and metals in England.
> Interestingly, he was the first to propose that the intricacies of the eye
> were evidence of a supreme designer. He preceded Linnaeus in understanding
> the importance of developing a system of taxonomy and proposed the use of
> Latin to do so.
> 2) the Scottish Arctic explorer John Rae, M.D., who earned the displeasure
> of the English public and John Franklin's widow when it was revealed that
> in his attempts to find out what had happened to the Franklin expedition,
> he heard of possible cannibalism from the Inuit. Although thoroughly
> reviled at the time, he was eventually vindicated when 140 years later
> physical evidence was discovered that more than suggested that some of the
> party had indeed resorted to cannibalism.
> He (and not Franklin) is also now recognized as the actual discoverer of
> the North West passage.
> Both JRs it seems to me would appeal to VN - so why use the name for
> someone clearly contemptible in VN's eyes? That I can't begin to answer.
> Carolyn
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