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: I feel as though I'm perched on the edge of the Apocalypse, and I'm talking about commas.

: Like Nabokov, at the outbreak of an earlier war:

My nerves were on edge because of the darkness of the earth, which I had not noticed muffling itself up, and the nakedness of the firmament, the disrobing of which I had not noticed either. Overhead, between the formless trees bordering my dissolving path, the night sky was pale with stars. In those years, that marvelous mess of constellations, nebulae, interstellar- gaps and all the rest of the awesome show provoked in me an indescribable sense of nausea, of utter panic, as if I were hanging from the earth upside down on the brink of infinite space, with terrestrial gravity still holding me by the heels but about to release me any moment. Except for two corner windows in the upper story (my mother''s sitting room) the house was already dark. . . . My mother reclined on the sofa with the St. Petersburg Rech in her hands and an unopened London Times in her lap. A white telephone gleamed on the glass-topped table near her. . . . An armchair stood by the sofa, but I always avoided it because o f its golden satin, the mere sight of which caused a laciniate shiver to branch from my spine like nocturnal lightning (226).


© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.