Jansy Mello:  It seems to me that already in “Bend Sinister” there are examples of a literary employ of Bergson’s “duration.” In this case it’s also possible that we’ll find bergsonian developments in “Lolita,” following Jacqueline Hamrit’s example about bifurcations and forkings.

V. Nabokov describes “taming time” by holding onto some quotidian but very personal items:

“On this particular night, just after they had tried to turn over to me her purse, her comb, her cigarette holder, I found and touched this — a selected combination, details of the bas-relief. I had never touched this particular knob before and shall never find it again. This moment of conscious contact holds a drop of solace. The emergency brake of time. Whatever the present moment is, I have stopped it. Too late. In the course of our, let me see, twelve, twelve and three months, years of life together, I ought to have immobilized by this simple method millions of moments; paying perhaps terrific fines, but stopping the train. Say, why did you do it? the popeyed conductor might ask. Because I liked the view. Because I wanted to stop those speeding trees and the path twisting between them. By stepping on its receding tail. What happened to her would perhaps not have happened, had I been in the habit of stopping this or that bit of our common life, prophylactically, prophetically, letting this or that moment rest and breathe in peace. Taming time. Giving her pulse respite. Pampering life, life — our patient.” *  

He also makes a reference to texture (fwd), but it’s to the “intimate texture of space” not time:

an oblong puddle invariably acquiring the same form after every shower because of the constant spatulate shape of a depression in the ground. Possibly, something of the kind may be said to occur in regard to the imprint we leave in the intimate texture of space.”

(I didn’t check this in the novel now, but weren’t there other recurring oblong, bean-shaped puddles (milk?)? Did VN omit them from his fwd because they’d spoil the neat parallel between a depression in the ground and an imprint left in the texture of space? Am I confusing two different issues?)  


*- Cp. with  his words in “Speak, Memory”:  “I not only go through the same agony and delight that my uncle did, but have to cope with an additional burden—the recollection I have of him, reliving his childhood with the help of those very books. I see again my schoolroom in Vyra, the blue roses of the wallpaper, the open window. Its reflection fills the oval mirror above the leathern couch where my uncle sits, gloating over a tattered book. A sense of security, of well-being, of summer warmth pervades my memory. That robust reality makes a ghost of the present. The mirror brims with brightness; a bumblebee has entered the room and bumps against the ceiling. Everything is as it should be, nothing will ever change, nobody will ever die.”

-------- Original Message --------


Re: [NABOKV-L] Curious links to life's "forks" in ADA


Fri, 18 Jul 2014 07:24:34 +0200


Jacqueline HAMRIT <jacqueline.hamrit@univ-lille3.fr>




Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>

- I had noticed the presence of bifurcations and forkings in _Lolita_. Remember: "When I try to analyze my own cravings, motives, actions and so forth, I surrender to a sort of retrospective imagination which feeds the analytic faculty with boundless alternatives and which causes each visualized route to fork and re-fork without end in the maddeningly complex prospect of my past." (Part1, chapter 4, p.13 of _The annotated Lolita_)

 Jacqueline Hamrit

Google Search
the archive
the Editors
NOJ Zembla Nabokv-L
Subscription options AdaOnline NSJ Ada Annotations L-Soft Search the archive VN Bibliography Blog

All private editorial communications are read by both co-editors.