Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Nabokov to Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory (1966).

An especially beautiful and startling element in Speak, Memory  is the sudden and unexplained direct address of a “you.” That would be Vera Nabokov, Vladimir’s wife.

In Odes 2.14, Horace describes years as fleeting, gliding away. The poem addresses Postumus (identity unknown) and repeats his name: “Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume / labuntur anni” [Alas, O Postumus, Postumus, the years glide swiftly by]. Postume, Postume: thus posthaste , posthaste , Paestum, Paestum. Paestum: “a major ancient Greek city.” Postumus, by the way, does not signify posthumous , no matter how well the meaning fits here.

Related reading
All OCA Nabokov posts (Pinboard)

[The text of Horace is from Odes and Epodes , trans. C. F. Bennett (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1914). Lumber : “To heap together in disorder” (Webster’s Second .)]

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