94.03-06: A search for lost time . . . *je
suis né": "The French translates the opening of Thomas Hood's 'I remember, I
remember' (1827). Goodgrief combines Hood ('Good' in the Russian
transliteration) and the surname of C. K. Scot Moncrieff, the translator of
Proust who changed the title of *A la recherche du temps perdu* (*In Search of
Lost Time*) to *Remembrance of Things Past* in order to keep to Proust's R-T-P-
pattern and to echo Shakespeare's sonnet 30: 'When to the sessions of sweet
silent thought / I summon up remembrance of things past . . . '" (Brian
Boyd's note to the LoA edition).
94.06: Proust's quest: As Alyssa
Pelish pointed out the resemblance between a passage from "The
Fugitive" and Ch.1 of TT some months ago, Proust plays an
important role in the novella. A passage from VN's lecture on Proust almost
sounds to describe TT (except for "enormous"): "The whole is a treasure
hunt where the treasure is time and the hiding place the past [. . . ] The
transmutation of sensation into sentiment, the ebb and tide of memory, waves of
emotions such as desire, jealousy, and artistic euphoria--this is the material
of the enormous and yet singularly light and translucid work."
Another Proust connection: "Now Lady X,"
repeated in this chapter, alludes to some characters in Proust
who move up to a higher position as Odette de Crécy finally becomes Comtess de
94.12-13: Jacques lay buried under six feet of snow in
Chute, Colorado: One of the characters who have died backstage. As Don
and John has mentioned, "Chute" suggests that the ex-bobsled champion died
by falling. As I wrote on Ch. 7, in "The Vane Sisters," the spirit of Oscar
Wilde tells that he and his brother, John and Bill Moore, coal miners in
Colorado, died in an avalanche. In this chapter just before we see M. Wilde
we hear about Jacque.
94.13: a club hut: Have we seen the
hut? Is it the shallet where three J boys had a party?
94.15-16: "Draconite," a stimulant no longer
in production: is of course from Draconita as well as Dragon +
knight/night. Cf. "The *dragon drag* had worn off: its aftereffects are not
pleasant, combining as they do physical fatigue with a certain starkness of
thought as if all color were drained from the mind" (ADA II. 11, my italics).
95.23: A dog yapped on the inner side of the
door: It reminds me of the "dog" that Kern of "Wingstroke" believes to be
with Isabel in her room (later he knows it was not a dog). Unlike
it, the dog whose yapping HP hears actually accompanies the woman who
stays in the room. HP has no chance to see the dog, though. The
dog was foreshadowed by the door's winning following HP "like a stupid pet"
(Ch. 2). As a dog (a setter) causes Charlotte's death in *Lolita*, a
dog (a spitz) indirectly leads HP to the death in the room where
he and Armande stayed eight years ago. See
also the note to "the lady with the dog" below.
95.31: "Beau Romeo": The exact name
of the Stresa hotel is The Grand Hòtel des Isles Borromées, facing Lago
Maggiore. Answering my question, Brian Boyd revised the note
to the LoA edition that the hotel was "Borromeo"--there seems to
be no hotel by the name in Stresa. He also brought my attention to the
Maggiore-Major-More-Moore connections. You can see the hotel at http://www.borromees.it/index2.html.
96.07: *Transatlantic*: Another
"trans-." HP returned trans-Atlantically to the magazine (obviously
a pun on *The Atlantic*) he left there eight years
ago. Could it be possible that VN was thinking of Witold
Gombrowicz's novel, *Trans-Atlantyk*?
96.10-11: Monsieur Wilde's English . . .
intonation: "Nabokov commented that George Steiner 'absurdly overestimates
Oscar Wilde's mastery of French' (*Strong Opinions*, Article 7,
'Anniversary Notes'--'George Steiner')" (Brian Boyd's note to LoA).
In "The Vane Sisters," Wilde speaks
"rapid garbled French, with the usual anglicisms."
96.17-18: One talks here of a man who murdered
his spouse eight years ago: As the issue was left by HP
himself, it cannot have the article about HP's own murder,
but several paralles are found between HP and the
96.26-27: the woman who had enveloped the fat
that remained of her ham in a paper napkin: "The lady with the dog" is
going to give it to her dog. We will see a shred of
the paper napkin and a smudge of grease in the wastepaper basket in
the following chapter.
96.33-97.he had been an exemplary prisoner and
had even taught his cell-mates such things as chess, Esperanto, the best way to
make pumpkin pie, the signs of the zodiac, gin rummy, et cetera, et cetera: Is
there any well-known criminal to whom all these things apply
98.02-06: I faked violence . . . appering
subnormal: A Hamlet motif.
98.19: *l'aiguillon rouge*: I am grateful to
Brian Boyd for telling me that *l'aiguillon rouge* comes from a hawkmoth,
the sphinx du liseron, which has an "aiguillon rouge," and it "may come
from Ronsard, whom Nabokov knew well, and there is an 'aiguillon' (as
Cupid's arrow, though), in the sonnet 'Qui voudra voyr comme un Dieu me
surmonte.' But it's not red." I am also grateful to Jansy for
sending me a photo of the hawkmoth (I am forwarding it to the
list). Ronsard's "Poèmes des Amours" (1552) can be read
98.24-25: three famous theologians and two
minor poets: Who are they? I only remember Socrates and his Daimonion, a
kind of guardian spirit, which warned the philosopher against various
98.26-27: a larger, incredibly wiser, calmer
and stronger stranger, morally better than he: Cf. "A demon, I felt, was
frocingme to impersonate that other man, that other writer who was and would
always be incomparably greater, healthier, and crueler than your obedient
servant" (*LATH* II. 3).
98.35-99.01: Verona, Florence, Rome, Taormina:
In March 1970 VN went to Rome with the index cards for TT. Then
in April and May he visited Taormina (Brian Boyd, *VNAY* 576). In
Florence the Nabokovs visited museums in 1966 (*Ibid* 512). How about
99.08-09: The lady with the little dog: "Title
of Anton Chekhov's story of an adulterous affair, 'Dama s sobachkoi' (1899)
(Brian Boyd's note to LoA). In Chekhov's story, the little dog is a spitz.
In "Spring in Fialta," VN's "The Lady with the Little Dog," dogs are
intentionally spared. However, Nina's scarf "already on the move
like those dogs that recognize you before their owners
do" makes her see Victor as a spitz gives Gulov a
chance to talk to Anna in Chekhov's story.
Thank you for reading!