Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nabokov's mother's faith

Her intense and pure religiousness took the form of her having equal faith in the existence of another world and in the impossibility of comprehending it in earthly life. All one could do was to glimpse, amid the haze and the chimeras, something real ahead, just as persons endowed with an unusual persistence of diurnal cerebration are able to perceive in their deepest sleep, somewhere beyond the throes of an entangled and inept nightmare, the ordered reality of the waking hour.

-- Nabokov, Speak, Memory, ch. 2.

... Also in chapter 2, Nabokov manages to drop "palpebral" (relating to the eyelid), "photism" (luminous hallucinatory image), "quinsy" (an abscess of the tonsil), and "aquarelle" (painting in transparent watercolors). Nabokov evidently stands with Faulkner against Hemingway on the value of a reader's pausing to consult a dictionary (or Google). (I kind of knew what an aquarelle is ....)

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