Monday, September 27, 2010

Shakespearean Titles

Many literary works derived their titles from passages in Shakespeare, e.g. Brave New World, The Sound and the Fury.
Another one of my favorites is the poem/novel Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov.

The moon's an arrant thief,
And her pale fire she snatches from the sun.
       Timon of Athens

Once I got caught in a strange web created by Nabokov and another author which involved the following lines from Pale Fire:

Space is a swarming in the eyes,
and Time a singing in the ears

 I was reading the Nabokov novel Ada.  In Ada Nabokov mentioned the lines above as quoted by "the invented philosopher Martin Gardiner".  I thought I was hallucinating, since coincidentally I was also in the middle of reading a popular science book The Ambidextrous Universe with a nearly identical author -  Martin Gardner.  Fortunately it happened to be the second edition of the Ambidextrous Universe, which, when I read further, provided the explanation.  Nabokov's misspelling of Gardner's name was probably deliberate!

By the way, it probably wouldn't be too surprising if even a humble blog might have had the nerve to derive its title from a well-known passage in Shakespeare.

No comments: