Matt Roth: Kinbote's
note to 270: It is so like the heart of a scholar in search of a fond name to
pile a butterfly genus upon an Orphic divinity on top of the inevitable allusion
to Vanhomrigh, Esther!
According to some sources, the three primary Orphic divinities are
Phanes, Uranus, and Cronus. In the Pale Fire cosmology, these are related to the
Vanessa, Kinbote (Uranist), and Father Time (more on him in a different
Any other ideas?
JM: Something else called my attention when I
associated the sudden flare of an epiphany with evanescence (as it
appears in one of the senses of 'phaneros'), after I noticed that the name of
the butterfly is "Vanessa" and Swift's lover
appears from the syllables Van-(homrigh) and
Es-(ther). Is there is a hint
of something on the vane or a vaning moon? Or evanscence?
I explored it using the google and came up with
a connection between Orphic rites and a Pythagorean butterfly (metempsychosis,
evolution...themes dealt by Shade).
In contrast, examining literary
uses associated to Orphism, the term "evanscent" appeared in relation to Orpheus
(and Mallarmé's works).
By using the google unprecedent links
abound and can be easily found...
THE ORPHIC MOMENT: SHAMAN TO POET-THINKER IN
PLATO, NIETZSCHE, AND MALLARME. By Robert McGahey. Albany: State University of
New York Press, 1994. xxi, 209 p.
Orpheus appears to be very much alive in
the second half of the twentieth century. Since the publication of Elizabeth
Sewell's The Orphic Voice (1960) there have been several studies related to the
Orpheus theme, among which Robert McGahey's is the latest. The major
contribution of this study, which distinguishes it from its predecessors, is to
establish a strong link between Plato and Mallarme, by way of Nietzsche, and
under the aegis of the shaman figure, whose modern incarnation is the
poet-thinker. In this way the anchorage of Orpheus in antiquity, as well as the
history of religions and modern critical philosophy, is securely grounded, and
our perspective on Orpheus is sharpened in a number of ways...The theme of The
Orphic Moment is the "close relation of myth and language" (p. 4). It makes a
strong case for the Orphic poet in Plato (p. 34) and draws Plato, Nietzsche, and
Mallarme together in the handsome phrase that ends the following
Whereas Plato provides a topos, a universe of images that contains
the labor of Mallarme's Orphism, Nietzsche contributes a precise setting for
Mallarme's Orpheus. His construct, Apollo-Dionysos, a fundamental contrariety of
"art deities" defining the world as "aesthetic phenomenon," creates a frame for
Orpheus: god of an evanescent moment that the French poet
dances into being. (p.
new divine being then maintains in full its psychic corpuscle and this is
expressed with the theogonic Orphic allegory where theOrphic egg-psychical
corpuscle becomes bright and radiant, acquires golden wings and turns into the
new divine being, otherwise known as Phanes of the Orphic theology or as
the Pythagorean butterfly. The Orphic egg-psychic corpuscle, while
remaining the same anatomicaly, continues intact its further evolutionary
This fact (of the preservation of the psychic corpuscle) has
great consequences: Firstly, it establishes in an absolute manner the
Consubstantiality of all forms of life. Secondly, it guarantees the absolutely
material nature of the Higher Worlds. Thirdly, it confirms the polytheistic
nature of our traditional religion explaining how the Gods are not only
individuals but distinct personalities as well: the Gods preserve their psychic
corpuscle and its recordings, they maintain their memories and their own
personality traits.The evolution of the divine being follows the stages that
have been well described by the Classics and the first of those are that of
hero, daemon and God. says Plutarch (Plutarch's Moralia: Obsolescence of