J.Aisenberg:I don't think the character is a ghost. I think we're meant to understand the character two ways simultaneously: to become involved with him much as one would any character in a story, but also Nabokov wants to tweak the reader now and then with the understanding that Vassilliy is simply a made up person refracted through the narrator, who is also a character…”


Jansy Mello: Don’t you think there’s more to Vasiliy and to CCL than the very literary description of events with Vasiliy and the narrator as characters, plus VN’s tactics of signaling to the reader that he is simply reading a work of fiction?

You chose an enchanting passage from Alfred Appel’s introduction to “Lolita” and in it he describes a “kind of double take” (to delve into the world of fiction and with its collapse, to enjoy the non-fictional world at the same time, without one annulling the other ). Perhaps this description is closer to what VN writes about “the texture of time” and Henri Bergson’s concept of “la duree” ( cf. Marina Grishakova, Leona Toker, Michael Glynn on VN and Bergson), “timelessness” and the rare moments when it is achieved thanks to an artist’s sensibility while he reacts also to a “something else” behind the ecstasy…


I confess I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness―in a landscape selected at random―is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern―to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal.”

The “static” image of CCL in the novel, as I see it, is only what’s left of this “momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love.”  The fragmentary hints related to what’s stated in this quote (from Speak,Memory) in CCL seem to link this short-story to it, when VN’s posterior reasoned and emotional apprehension of the world found the necessary words to describe it.   





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