Eric Hyman: Yes, but the “raptus” in question is in a legal document, a release of Chaucer from procedures seeking redress.  It couldn’t possibly be the medical or religious metaphor.  See The Riverside Chaucer, 3d ed., Ed. Larry Benson (1987) xxi-xxii.


Jansy Mello: You must be right, the use of “raptus” in a legal document related to Chaucer’s release, as pointed out by you, cannot apply to raptus as a pathological seizure or to altered states of consciousness - also because its use in English texts, in the latter sense, is only registered a few centuries later*.
I got carried away by its later resonance in English, rapt attention and rapture as a positive kind of “abduction” or “rape” of minds and hearts, as it’s been felt and described by VN. The associative field (quite new to me) linking rape and rapture added an unexpected verbal dimension to my feeling about Lolita’s and HH’s wanderings and towards HH’s seductive appeals to the “jurors” ** . Words!!!



Former posting by Jansy Mello:  Chaucer & “raptus” must flare up many debates since raptus also means “seizure” and is a term found in medical texts and, in religious manuscripts, it emerges in the sense that, in English, leads us to “rapture” , the kind of ecstasy often associated to or found in VN’s writings, as: “Let all of life be an unfettered howl. Like the crowd greeting the gladiator. Don't stop to think, don't interrupt the scream, exhale, release life's rapture.” [snip]   

**- Suddenly a connection between “raptus”/abduction and the word seduction popped up. I did a quick check…  
seduce (v.) Look up seduce at 1520s, "to persuade a vassal, etc., to desert his allegiance or service," from Latin seducere "lead away, lead astray," from se- "aside, away" (see secret (n.)) + ducere "to lead" (see duke (n.)). Sexual sense, now the prevailing one, is attested from 1550s and apparently was not in Latin. Originally "entice (a woman) to a surrender of chastity." Related: Seducedseducing. Replaced Middle English seduisen (late 15c.), from Middle French séduire "seduce," from Old French suduire "to corrupt, seduce," from Latin subducere "draw away, withdraw, remove" (see subduce).


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.