I was reading an interesting article in the travel section of the NY Times yesterday about Nabokov’s journeys with his wife Vera across some of the more desolate parts of America, which form the basis for the extended sequence in “Lolita” in which Humbert and Lo desolately crisscross the desolate country. It occurred to me that the four pillars of the Nabokovian sensibility are: chess, tennis, butterflies, and language. I can, as they say, relate. These four items seem to me to form a natural family, but I would be hard pressed to say what they have in common. Perhaps they all exemplify what VN calls “unearthly splendor”.
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