Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lolita on identity

“I have often noticed that we are inclined to endow our friends with the stability of type that literary characters acquire in the reader's mind. [...] Whatever evolution this or that popular character has gone through between the book covers, his fate is fixed in our minds, and, similarly, we expect our friends to follow this or that logical and conventional pattern we have fixed for them. Thus X will never compose the immortal music that would clash with the second-rate symphonies he has accustomed us to. Y will never commit murder. Under no circumstances can Z ever betray us. We have it all arranged in our minds, and the less often we see a particular person, the more satisfying it is to check how obediently he conforms to our notion of him every time we hear of him. Any deviation in the fates we have ordained would strike us as not only anomalous but unethical. We could prefer not to have known at all our neighbor, the retired hot-dog stand operator, if it turns out he has just produced the greatest book of poetry his age has seen.”

― Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

26 comments:

  1. I imagine Humbert is delighted to point out the unsettling fact that once we create an inner image of a person we resist seeing any other version as being possible. (Perhaps that's one of those mental delusions we've developed because it reduces our general anxiety about having to "know" whether or not this or that person is "OK" and poses no threat. Hence the 'guy next door' is never seen as a murderer and once caught, his neighbors frown into the camera and say, "He seemed like such a nice guy."

    And, naturally, if you're grubby, ill-spoken neighbor suddenly writes a Shakespearean play, one tends to feel a bit . . . offended. How dare they soar beyond our conception of them? ;)

    Mr. Hyde

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    1. You are making a good point about resisting to see other versions as being possible. Having said that, there is an existing account of Nabokov declaring "Lolita" to be a recording of his love and profound immersion into the nadirs of the English language. His own tragedy, he said, "tongue in cheek," was that "I had to abandon my natural idiom, my untrammelled, rich, and infinitely docile Russian tongue for a second-rate brand of English, devoid of any of those apparatuses - the baffling mirror, the black velvet backdrop, the implied associations and traditions - which the native illusionist, frac-rails flying, can magically use to transcend the heritage his own way."

      Nabokov likes frames and their effects. I believe the novel is one of the funniest and one of the most complex books that I have ever read.

      Do you see any similarities in it to "Titus Andronicus?"

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    2. Parnasse,

      Thank you.

      I don't know Russian, so I can easily believe Nabokov is right that his native language creates "the baffling mirror, the black velvet backdrop . . . " Transcending heritage and everything? else through language is something I attempt all the time. ;)

      "nadirs of the English language." Lol. Same could probably said of any human noises. )

      Lolita the novel is magnificent. Immortal.

      Haven't read Titus in years. My hundred-year-old edition of Shakespeare's work is presently on loan. (Had to mention that because I'm passionate about the Bard; the edition I bought off the street for $5 is missing its cover but is the most fabulously illustrated I've ever seen.)

      Mr. Hyde

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    3. I believe that most writers seek the type of transcendence through language that upholds a constant state of evolution. Progress is the operative word in such instances.

      How is "Lolita" immortal in your opinion, Mr. Hyde? Also, what happened to the edition's fabulous cover? :)

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    4. I agree, Parnasse, that great writers seek transcendence through language. I know a few others, however, whose transcendence is sought via other channels, i.e., fame and fortune.

      The prose, the devious plot, the psychological truth of the characters all combine in Lolita that in my mind capture the eternal conflict of the human condition. It's one of those books I find unforgettable and never cease enjoying, no matter how many times I read it. The voice of HH is hilarious, disgusting, pitiful, incisive and brilliant. Utterly captivating.

      I don't know what happened to the cover. I bought it from a homeless man who'd scrounged it from a dumpster. Shakespeare saved from a dumpster . . . bet he (Shakespeare) would smile hearing that. )

      Mr. Hyde

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    5. Yes, Mr. Hyde. Great writers have a love and a high passion for transcending through language. Here is one:

      "I confess that I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness...This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain...A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern, to the contrapuntal genius of human fate..."

      I have read "Lolita" more than once, too. Knowing that one has something captivating to read before going to bed is among the most pleasurable of experiences. After all, "The breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea."

      As I think of your acquisition of the edition's cover, Shakespeare would laugh out loud, Mr. Hyde. After giving it some thought while fiddling with his quill, he would most likely include it in a play. :)

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    6. Who wrote the quote, Parnasse? I don't recall reading this before.

      Words are portals to other worlds and times. Perhaps certain kinds of reading also sparks new pathways, ways of being. I know of many books (friends) "who" have changed me.

      Shakespeare would have loved the homeless man for digging his complete works out the dumpster and for quoting Hamlet whilst hawking that mammoth book with both grubby hands. "To be or not to be -- for five bucks."

      Mr. Hyde

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    7. I quoted Nabokov from “Speak, Memory,” Mr. Hyde.

      I believe that new pathways or ways of being can be “portals to other words,” or, in the alternative, a series of footnotes to an immeasurable, complex and unfinished masterpiece. The more complex one’s characters are, the better it becomes for the reader to get into the author’s tint of mind. I find it extraordinary when a masterpiece of fiction, which is an original world, is likely to perpetually impact the world of a curious reader.

      “If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me.” The Bard

      Which of the edition’s illustrations comes to your mind, Mr. Hyde? :)

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    8. A scene from Hamlet in which he sees his father's ghost. I wish I could recall exactly what edition it is -- 1889? 1919? I'll be getting the book back soon and can then tell you the name of the brilliant illustrator.

      The author's black and white tint of mind is too often seen in shoddy books; Shakespeare's complexity shines like a rainbow. Those full spectrum writers are indeed like human lasers, leaving in my mind an indelible mark.

      I've started reading "World Wide Mind."

      What books are you reading? Just curious.

      Mr. Hyde

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    9. I have seen illustrations of this particular scene, Mr. Hyde. It can have a rather powerful and long-lasting effect on the mind, especially when seen, spotted or found unexpectedly.

      If you would like to read a “seriously entertaining” book about Shakespeare, you might be drawn to Bill Bryson’s “Shakespeare: The World as Stage.” As though this novel has been brewed in a blazing, ardent cauldron, it explores the case of the Chandos portrait, the Bard’s lost years, along with a pinch of unusual theories. Another title would be “A Walk in the Woods.”

      I am discovering “Satin Island.” Alan Cheuse has described it “as a critique of modern life, dressed in a novel's clothing.” It is signally spectacular.

      If you were to choose the year 2010, which book would you recommend or read, Mr. Hyde?

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  2. Has anyone here seen the film Lolita? (The older version in the older version
    from the early 1960's)
    It's really a film about "gas lighting" and how three sociopaths eventually do
    themselves in.
    Peter Sellers starred in it. He had an interesting back round.
    His last film was called "Being There," (1975) about an "innocent" mentally
    retarded man being thrust out into the cold, cruel, world and how he flourishes
    through dumb luck. I don't think I'll be so lucky.

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    1. Yes, I've seen it, Anon. Here's how I saw it (actually):

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VTsFtwO0u0

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  3. How can the "warpainted" Joker in the Dark Knight Movie be understood? Such exterior screams "psychosis", but the character is the "rebel of all rebels", impulsive & has no plan & is very lucid & controlled?

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    1. He has great financial advice. Simple and eloquent.

      "If you're good at something, never do it for free."

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    2. Would a dude deep in a "hazy schizo-dream" have such understanding of the core mechanics of business? And the character also is VERY indifferent, which also happens to be what really defines a psychopath (not violence or manipulation).

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    3. If he can lead a gang of thugs, he must know something of leadership and consequently business.

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  4. How can the first Ripley-movie be understood? The "mr Smith"-normal main Tom-character kills the only credible psychopath on a small boat halfway through the movie? How did that happen..?

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  5. I'm worried for M.E.. We're headed for a situation not dissimular from
    the Russian invasion of Germany in 1945.
    What happens when M.E. is unable to perform her daily activites?
    What joy will she obtain from life? I know what I intend to do. But M.E,
    K.C. and "A" are beautiful young ladies with many years ahead of them.
    If anyone can "survive(?) it is them. But would they want to?

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  6. I noticed after reading several posts, some as far back as 2010, there is very little kinship amongst you all. The swiping and put downs are everywhere. I am aware that I am subjecting myself to ridicule by posting here (i.e., my IQ is not high enough, grammar not good enough, atrocious spelling etc... Things you all seem to hang your hats on). My reason for posting, since it seems that you make the study of others your hobby, is to further enlighten you on you prey. Many empaths (as you like to refer to us), can be very cunning and shrewed when we find out how we've played. In fact we can be down right effective and employ many of the techniques you employed on us (just without the paper trail many of the more high functioning socio paths leave). I'm am currently watching one of your very own choke in his own elaborate web of lies and truthfully I can see the fun in it. You seen many of us empaths give you enough rope and watch you hang yourself. After all we learned from the masters. Have a nice day

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    1. You know, you're not so different from a sociopath yourself. If you can employ those same tactics and take pleasure in the misfortunes this individual suffers, you're not to far from getting your own membership in the sociopath club.

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  7. Wrote a (suspected not known) scorp journalist a letter and mentioned scorp stuff: he answered in the actual magazine with hidden hints to me, confirming his plutonian identity. They play mind-games. They test if the sender is bright enough to get it. THEY WANNA PLAY A GAME.

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  8. Every day that I wake up, I surprise myself.

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  9. More people need to be on http://sociopath-community.com/

    !!! it used to be connected to this blog but was disconnected over a year ago. We need fresh blood and lots of interesting things have happened recently (relates to kiwifar.ms drama: https://archive.is/M2tXa) that will go down in the forum's history! Be sure to check out http://www.psychforums.com/antisocial-personality/ too, as some of its regulars are regulars on SC too!

    Goddamn ME refused to reconnect the blog to the forum so we SC goers will just have to spam advertisements for the forum in the comments section. ;)

    ReplyDelete

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