Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0022302, Tue, 10 Jan 2012 21:21:35 -0200

Re: [Fwd: Brian Boyd and Nabokov's Uncle Ruka Dream]
Dennis Kelly: "[ ] That kind of combinational replay is the stuff of his fiction. No wonder he would make Van Veen engage in a serious study of the “precognitive flavor” of dreams in the hope…of ”catching sight of the lining of time.” (VN:TAY 366-367) Does such a possible ‘mise-en-abyme’ insertion of a ‘dreamtime text’ as well as ‘multiple dream-characters’ into this Nabokovian dream narrative report suggest any possible discourse relationships of the above incident to Gide’s Les Faux-Monnayeurs narratives or Nabokov’s The Gift or Nabokov’s later supposedly ‘precognitive’ Ada dream narratives later on? //Gide defines the mise-en-abyme technique as a transposition of the work's subject matter on the level of its characters. More precisely, this procedure consists of placing a discourse within another discourse, whereby the incorporated text resembles or "mirrors" as Gide puts it, the incorporating one, emphasizing the formal structure of the work as a whole and drawing attention to the relationship between the author and his creation. Is this possibly what Nabokov meant by “The inner lining of time”?"

JM: I wish I were able to discuss Dennis Kelly's questionings - some items seem to be related to perplexities of my own (mirrors and the relationship bt an author and his creation.) Even the sentence about "the inner lining of time" reports me to dawns and sunsets, the mise-en-abyme to infinite return. Unfortunately I'm not familiar with Gide and Leonid Livak's article. I hope others pick up this thread.

After puzzling over Speak,Memory's "crack of light" by relating it to a "crack of dawn" (a radiant split), I found another imlage that may also express two distinct things at the same time (such as matter and energy). Now (in Bend Sinister) it's applied to the reflective surface of a puddle, an inkblot, a pool of spilled milk, which are important in Krug's eyes "not only because he had contemplated the inset sunset..." but also because it "vaguely evokes in him my link with him: a rent in his world leading to another world of tenderness,brightness and beauty." A smooth mirror-pool that simultaneously frames a shining sunset or a nether sky, and evokes a rent in the world that separates author and his creatures. Although any reader may easily surmise that Krug's "hereafter" lies in the hands of his maker and that character and author can suffer surrealistic "visitations" (literary epiphanies), I think that Nabokov intended to express something that lies beyond the verbal domain, as when he used rays of light as sharp swords.

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