Thread: Books etc.
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
william
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Above I posted a passage from Lolita. What makes it is not the entire paragraph, beautiful as it may be, but rather those last lines, those words that completed the thought:
the last throb of the longest ecstasy man or monster had ever known
Nabokov’s brilliance in allusion rings true throughout the entire novel but here in particular you see the Master at work. A younger reader may miss out on what is implied. Similarly, earlier in the novel he writes,
Quote:
She would try to relieve the pain of love by first roughly rubbing her dry lips against mine; then my darling would draw away with a nervous toss of her hair, and then again come darkly near and let me feed on her open mouth, while with a generosity that was ready to offer her everything, my heart, my throat, my entrails, I have her to hold in her awkward fist the scepter of my passion.
When I first read it I missed the "scepter of my passion." This reminds me of his homage and allusion to Poe and Annabelle Lee. Once past the forward, Nabokov introduces Lolita with one of the most beautiful openings ever:
Quote:
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palette to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.

Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, a certain initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.
In a princedom by the sea.

Poe, who loved a 13 year old girl…

Sometimes your mind plays great passages over and over and later they echo themselves in your work, your style, your cadence. I deliberately echoed William Kennedy’s Ironweed when I wrote about the fall of the Towers.

Kennedy:
Quote:
In the dust and sand of a grassless vacant lot beside the mission of Holy Redemption, a human form lay prostrate under a lighted mission window. The sprawl of the figure arrested Francis’s movement when he and Rudy saw it. Bodies in the alleys, bodies in the gutters, bodies anywhere, were part of his eternal landscape: a physical litany of the dead.
And my homage:
Quote:
The Holy Grounds were littered with Bodies.

Bodies in the streets.
Bodies in the sidewalks.
Bodies everywhere.
An eternal litany of death.
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Last edited by william; 08-16-2006 at 04:47 PM.
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