Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025627, Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:36:10 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] Two Johns Ray
Robert Boyle: “Naturalist John Ray was the Ray who interested VN.” Answering C. Kunin’s query: “ 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.”

Jansy Mello: It would be wonderful to get a quick reply also to why V.Nabokov (who lived for several years in Berlin) had “Irish mists blend with a German bunny”*, unless he was solely making a (forced) quip to his original Playboy interviewer. The sound for “Hase” is very unlike the “a” in “Haze”

Why was Lolita’s wreal surname Hayes? American Beautywise?

Perhaps “the heroine’s real surname” would rhyme with Hase - but that’s a spoil sport…

* - In the [page 121] Playboy interview (later reprinted in Strong Opinions), when asked how Lolita's name occurred to him, Nabokov replied: “For my nymphet I needed a diminutive with a lyrical lilt to it […]Dolores also provided her with another plainer, more familiar and infantile diminutive: Dolly, which went nicely with the surname "Haze", where Irish mists blend with a German bunny—I mean a small German hare [i.e. = Hase]. http://www.connotations.uni-tuebingen.de/luxemburg01413.htm

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