NABOKV-L post 0017537, Wed, 31 Dec 2008 14:17:12 +0100

Re: MacDiarmid, Southey, etc.
Dear List -

thanks for all your remarks on my posting re MacDiarmid, Southey etc. To answer just two of the questions that have come up:

No, I am not at all certain that Fittis' book on 'Sports and Pastimes in Scotland' was Nabokov's source. I only think it a very likely source, compared to Angus MacDiarmid's book itself which is so exceedingly rare that I believe nobody can come across it by chance. Fittis' book has what the source needs: a convincing sample of MacDiarmid's prose, a mention of Southey and the "men of incoherent transactions", all on two pages. Indeed I found it on the Internet, about three or four years ago, before the times of Google Books. I don't remember the pages all too clearly. As I was googling and trying out some of the pertinent keywords, I stumbled upon a mailing list of sorts where somebody happened to quote that very passage from Fittis' book. It looked most promising, and it turned out to be much easier to get hold of than I had anticipated. There is a reprint from 1975, and through one of the used books portals I had it within a week.

No again, the appendix to the new German edition of 'Pale Fire' is about two hundred pages long, and unfortunately I will not have the time to translate it myself, nor would my alien English be up to it.

Happy New Year!

Dieter Zimmer, Berlin

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