Rust and Stardust


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 And the rest is rust and stardust.

Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov (born April 22, 1899) grew up trilingual, fully fluent in Russian, English, and French. He translated his own books and was fond of linguistic humor. He inserted “himself” in Lolita as Vivian Darkbloom, an anagram of his name.

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8 comments

  1. I really like the photo – and the feel of the words “rust and stardust” – how cool.

    alos, did not know that Nabokov was trilingual – and while I do not really care for his work that much, when I was younger I thought it was totally cool that the Police mentioned his work in their song. and in college, a really cool professor – one of the few ones that still actually taught! – well I will never forget him talking about all the alliteration in one section of Lolita – with all the “L’s” – and this post reminded me of that – thanks!

    • You are amazing, Yvette! I never felt sophisticated enough to read him, but admit to be very intrigued when I read about the anagram…I get into that stuff!! I’m gonna have to go back and read now that I know about all of the Ls!

      • hey – well I found the section for you!! 🙂
        notice all the playful L’s…. and just the flow of the words…. I can still see my prof citing this (maybe enjoying himself too much) ha!

        From Part 1:

        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 palate 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.
        Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.

      • Oh my goodness!
        I love this! In fact, when I’m feeling spicy, I’ll play with first letters, too. Sometimes I don’t even know I’m doing it.
        Thank you SO much for putting this delightful passage in here…I may be sneaking some more reading of this before bed tonight!
        You are the BEST!
        Xo

      • well you are pretty awesome and I am grateful to have crossed paths with you in the blogosphere – I like how you keep it real – and you are such an encourager – and so smart about so many things – it’s a rich gift mix you have!

      • My dear friend…I feel the same about you 🙂

      • Hi mamma-tick – I also wanted to add a tad more (thank for such a fun topic!!!0

        I must say that I hated the plot of this book Lolita – because an older guy having sex with a minor just pisses me off. So I approached it defensively – but also see that the Holy Spirit was stretching my perspective – and I had that peace of God as the titles for this class were shocking to me… sounds corny, but anxiety with some classwork creeped in here and there – and sometimes the content was like, “Really” – even though I have come to see that it was tame compared to what my step-daughter was exposed to two years ago – but I digress!!!

        Well I grew up a lot that semester. And I think “good” English teachers deserve an extra gold star.
        anyhow, my prof compared Lolita with a striking scene from the Invisible Man – (not the science fiction invisible man by Wells, but the one by Ralph Ellison – about the african american experience and about universal individuality and personal identity.)

        and so when I realized how we could “learn” from Lolita – well, I realized it was not just a story of a perv traveling around with a girl…. but instead – it is a work of art by a writer who has words that flow. He also describes things in a way that moves the reader – like describing the way the blinds allow the light to show through in one scene – and then psychologists also have their take…

        Here is what John Jay said of it:

        As a case history, “Lolita” will become, no doubt, a classic in psychiatric circles. As a work of art, it transcends its expiatory aspects; and still more important to us than scientific significance and literary worth, is the ethical impact the book should have on the serious reader; for in this poignant personal study there lurks a general lesson; the wayward child, the egotistic mother, the panting maniac–these are not only vivid characters in a unique story: they warn us of dangerous trends; they point out potent evils. “Lolita” should make all of us–parents, social workers, educators–apply ourselves with still greater vigilance and vision to the task of bringing up a better generation in a safer world…

      • I have learned so much from this dialogue, Yvette.
        Quite simply, in college, I was a bit afraid of going off what I considered the safe boat (Of Mice and Men, Jane Eyre, Little Women, etc) and scared to death of the life raft (Lolita, Catcher in the Rye, anything Hemingway). I was completely put off by the language in Catcher in the Rye that I didn’t let myself go into the broader space of learning that you did.
        Now that I’m all grown up (i.e. old!) I’m reading to read all of those classics again with a new eye. You just reinforced the value.
        Thank you SO much for taking the time to share this…I have a brand new perspective and ready to learn again!
        xo

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