Former posting: "Humbert Humbert dies in 1952, exactly forty years after Reichelt's death. The reference to the tailor (1947), if it signals doom/regret, indicates the date when Humbert Humbert's "spirit" died following a "nympholepetic's" calendar."


I'm quite certain that British author Ian McEwan's words were, somehow, the instigators behind my curiosity concerning Nabokov's reference to Reichelt's death and his two-minute or forty-second hesitation while standing on the brink of a drop. Humbert didn't extend his qualms about his lust for Lolita any longer than that, and, like Reichelt, he took the plunge. When Humbert writes about this episode forty years later (in his calendar it took place in 1947) he dates his cowardly "fall" not at the time it actually happened but at when he was writing his "Confessions." *


"I don’t deny there was wrongdoing. I stole a life, and I don’t intend to give it back. You may treat these few pages as a confession" (from Ian McEwan's "My Purple Scented Novel" in the New Yorker [Cf. ]) is an altogether different kind of recognition of sins. They were comitted by an unsuccessful writer named Parker Sparrow who stole and readapted a novel that his more famous friend  Jocelyn Tarbet had written and, even forty years later, he remained not only unrepentant of it but he cynically gloats over the achievement... 


We can also access Debora Treisman's interview related to this short-story [ ], from where I copied an excerpt, bearing in mind Barrie Karp's link to another interview related to plagiarism, artistic borrowings, Vladimir Nabokov and Michael Maar's "The two Lolitas."


Q:"You yourself make a cameo in “My Purple Scented Novel”—as the novelist “with the Scottish name and the English attitude.” Have you ever been tempted to steal anything from another writer? How satisfying would it ultimately be to be known and respected for a work that wasn’t yours?

R: Borrowing or stealing isn’t quite the issue here. Writers you like, whose imaginations appeal to you, open up opportunities for your own imagination. Some writers—and they needn’t necessarily be great or well-known—can suggest routes to freedom, to a new mental space. A reader, or that other writer, would probably never spot the connection. But the debt remains."

Hopefully V. Nabokov, even if he'd been somehow influenced by Von  Lichberg's "Lolita," was unrepentant of his choices in this matter and that not even a silent "debt" remained.



* - Contrary to a vast majority of readers, I think that Humbert Humbert was, at intervals, really repentant of his actions and that this Reichelt insertion is one of these occasions.


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