FROM:  Don Johnson

 

Jansy's comment on ill-understood reminded me that a few days ago I, albeit belatedly, got to wondering about that "sublimated grouse" in the lines below:

 

 Whose spurred feet have crossed

                                                  From left to right the blank page of the road?

                                                  Reading from left to right in winterís code:

                                                  A dot, an arrow pointing back; repeat:

                                                  Dot, arrow pointing back... A pheasantís feet!

                                                  Torquated beauty, sublimated grouse,

                                                  Finding your China right behind my house.

 

"Torquated," I knew because the common English name for the pheasant is "ring-necked ---"torquated" meaning "collared." I was puzzled, however, by that "SUBLIMATED grouse."  In  my, Freud-saturated society, "sublimated" =repressed, pushed  down into the subconscious". WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

"Sublimated" means "made 'sublime,'' i.e. the rather plain-looking grouse  (almost certainly the "Ruffed grouse" --the usual grouse of Appalachia) is viewed here as a grouse made SUBLIME, i.e., the elegant, showy pheasant.

 

If one adopts Brian Boyd's theory of the mousey Hazel being postmortally transformed into a glamorous Wood duck (Aix sponsa-"a bride", perhaps the mousey grouse's transformation into a splendid pheasant is a foreshadowing thereof.

 

Search the Nabokv-L archive at UCSB

Contact the Editors

All private editorial communications, without exception, are read by both co-editors.

Visit Zembla

View Nabokv-L Policies