NABOKV-L post 0022081, Thu, 13 Oct 2011 12:39:40 +0000

Subject
Re: Hazel Shade-Lolita and Dorothy Parker
Date
Body
The passages Jansy quotes are quite remarkable, though of course we will never know, and should not presume to know, if Hazel Shade had an original in Dorothy Parker's Lo. We do know that VN read Parker's story.* I think, despite his exasperation, he probably admired Parker's style. And I will add one more passage. Though the object of the description is Mrs. Ewing, not Lolita, the sentiment is familiar:

DP: "Seen from an end of a long, softly lighted room, Mrs. Ewing was a pretty woman."

PF: "which made / Her almost fetching; and the mirrors smiled, / The lights were merciful, the shadows mild."

Matt Roth

PS. I think Fran misunderstands. Jansy was not saying that DP's "Lolita" inspired VN's Lolita.

* http://www.villagevoice.com/2005-09-06/books/the-original-of-lolita/

From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] On Behalf Of frances assa
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 7:16 PM
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] Hazel Shade-Lolita and Dorothy Parker


Jansy: Hold on a minute. Nabokov had already written and submitted the ms. of Lolita to Katherine White of the New Yorker before that magazine ever published Dorothy Parker's short story of the same name. Ergo neither Nabokov nor Parker could have known of each other's work. Pure coincidence, no? Fran





________________________________
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2011 13:14:40 -0300
From: jansy@AETERN.US<mailto:jansy@AETERN.US>
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Hazel Shade-Lolita and Dorothy Parker
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU<mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
The cynical trait lurking behind the creation of sweet John Shade seems to have impressed me more than it seems to have struck Pale Fire's throng of admirers.
Today I found an echo for it, as improbable as it seems to be. It derives from cruelly finnicky Dorothy Parker's writings..I glimpsed Hazel Shade in Lolita! ("The Portable Dorothy Parker," 1944. Reproduced in part by Penguin Modern Classics, in 2011)

Although I set J.Shade's lines close to D.Parker's, it's not because there's a possible literary match between them. Not even in spirit! A match, if there is one, would lie in V.Nabokov's and D. Parker's shared cruelty to their characters, particularly the smug relationship bt parents and their children and self-absorbingly detailed conversations.

Quotes from D.Parker's short-story Lolita and John Shade's poem Pale Fire

p.72 Lolita's mother "was always her own sparkling self with her daughter, but her friends, mothers of born belles, tried to imagine themselves in her place and their hearts ached for her..".
lines 312/314 "My gentle girl appeared as Mother Time,/.../And like a fool I sobbed in the men's room."
p.72 "...Gallant in their own way, they found cases to relate to her, cases of girls who went through periods of being plain and then turned suddenly into dazzling beauties; some of the more scholarly brought up references to the story of the ugly duckling"
lines 320-321: "Alas, the dingy cygnet never turned/ Into a wood duck. And again your voice:..."

p.73 "There were no beaux draped along the railing of the Ewing porch in the evening: no young male voices asked for Lolita over the telephone."
lines 330-337 "The telephone that rang before a ball/.../For her would never ring;.../.../...she'd never go,/A dream of gauze and jasmine, to that dance....

There's a faint word used by Shade in relation to the hereafter* that has gained a special twist in Dorothy Parker's world. In it, Lolita's mother, who saw her ungainly daughter get married after all - and to a successful, rich and charming newyorker (a certain John Marble)! - predicted a gloomy future for her daughter. She insistently told her friends that Lolita should go ahead and be happy, for as long as she possibly could, because - " 'Well, you know. A man like John Marble married to a girl like Lolita! But she knows she can always come here. This house is her home. She can always come back to her mother'." And now comes her shattering last line:
"For Mrs Ewing was not a woman who easily abandoned hope."

.................................................................
*- lines 833/34 "I have returned convinced that I can grope/My way to some - to some - "Yes, dear?" Faint hope." (end of Canto III)

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