wrought-iron world

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Couch Tomato, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. Couch Tomato

    Couch Tomato Senior Member

    Russian & Dutch
    A propos: I have often wondered what became of those nymphets later? In this wrought-iron world of criss-cross cause and effect, could it be that the hidden throb I stole from them did not affect their future?
    (Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov)

    What does
    wrought-iron world?

    wrought ˈiron noun [ uncountable ]
    long thin pieces of iron formed into shapes to make gates, fences etc
    (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)

    In this context it seems to mean 'industrialized world', right? I'm not sure if I see the significance of this in the context of this sentence. In what way is
    wrought-iron world related to 'criss-cross cause and effect'?

    Thank you in advance.
  2. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    I think it's more that "the criss-cross network of cause and effect that forms our world" is itself "like wrought-iron." There are two main connotations for me:

    1. the links between the network of cause and effect are as hard and unrelenting as wrought iron; i.e. they are firm and solid (and in fact they are "wrought" by our actions)
    2. the image "wrought-iron" resembles prison bars (Hitchcock uses this very often in his films); we are prisoners of the law of cause and effect and cannot break out of it
  3. london calling Senior Member

    A criss-cross effect here may mean the way cause and effect interweave and wrought iron can certainly be shaped to form interweaving patterns.:)

    I see your native language is Russian: have you tried reading the translation Nabokov himself did of the book into Russian?
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
  4. Couch Tomato

    Couch Tomato Senior Member

    Russian & Dutch
    Thank you, lucas-sp and london calling.

    No. Despite being my native language, my Russian is not up to the task of reading something like Lolita.
  5. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England
    Could it also be an allusion to his 'park-bench' environment?

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