Tuesday, October 20, 2009

As always, much material was covered. Not the least of which the sheer number of Sibyls(meaning in Latin "prophetess")there are to be found. Not just in the work of N. (Sibyl Shade of course, but also Sibyl Vane, in a renowned short story entitled The Vane Sisters), but also throughout literary and mythological history: there is the Cumaen Sibyl, consulted by Aeneas before venturing into the underworld in The Aeneid. She spells out her divinations with leaves, which the wind is apt to scatter.

We have all been assigned the task of deciphering Hazel's letter groups, formed on the night of her interaction with the white light in the haunted barn, on page 188. "pada ata lane pad not ogo old wart alan ther tale feur far rant lant tal tol"

What is to be made out of this? What could resemble these clusters of words? A great many things, undoubtedly, since the name of the distant northern land properly is, according to Kinbote near the end of the commentary, Zembla-Land of Resemblances. It is not life, but it is an imitation of life, as all of N.'s work and all creative writing is. Being me, I was suddenly reminded of this trashy 1950's soap opera-type movie directed by Douglas Sirk entitled Imitation of Life. Huh-huh. Curioser and curioser.

And how the names of the Judge's daughters(whom Kinbote is doing a shitty job housesitting for) are named in alphabetical order from A to D. So are Charles Xavier's relatives--Alphin, Blenda, Charles, Disa. So this is where Kinbote got it from!

N. claimed to hate TS Eliot, and yet he has Hazel, in the poem Pale Fire, ask the meaning of three words: chtonic(having to do with the underworld), grimpen(a swamp or mire) and sempiturnal(divurging off from the eternal), all of which are to be found in The Four Quartets. Oh N. you tease!

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