Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0021852, Sun, 24 Jul 2011 16:38:10 +0100

Re: R. G. Stonelower
My own idle browsing for ‘orbicle of jasp’ (which always struck me as VN
portraying Shade as the most jarring un-poet!) found Vladimir Mylnikov’s
essay A and Z of Zembla, at

My apologies to those already familiar with Mylnikov’s thesis, but it was
new to me, and may help resolve Jansy Mello’s queries. Or not, as they say.

Briefly: replacing ‘Zembla, a distant northern land’ (uniquely lacking both
page and q.v. cross-references) as the final English Pale Fire index item,
we find Iacheika Iashmy (alt. Transliteration Yacheika Yashmy) in the
Russian translation (by Véra Nabokov, but one wonders if hubby provided
earlier assistance?). Literally, Iacheika Iashmy means ‘cell jasper’ (where
‘cell’ can be political or biological, or even military: foxhole/slit-trench
— and ‘jasper’ is the broad range of minerals-- Alexsey’s help invited). The
same term translates Shade use of ‘orbical of jasp’ in the Cantos.

Further, the letter Ia (Yah) is the lexicographically LAST letter in
Russian, matching the English Z and Greek Omega, concepts which inspire
Mylnikov’s alphabetic ranges [a-z/a-yah/alpha-omega] and interpretations:

One more argument supporting the suggestion that semantic meaning of the
word Zembla must include the idea of the alphabet comes from the Russian
version of the book. The last item in the Index appeared as " iacheika
iashmy" - the words which should correspond to Zembla [the last item in the
English version].Indeed, they perfectly do, despite that their meaning is
totally different from Zembla. But both words begin and end with the last
and the first letters of the Russian alphabet -IA and A , and from the point
of the form they are absolutely identical with the word Zembla. In the
English version " iacheika iashmy" appears as "an orbical of jasp" though
not in the Index but in the poem, when the poet is meditating about Terra
the Fair. This transplantation took place because of the discrepancy between
Latin and Cyrillic alphabets and the translator , to a certain extent, had
to sacrifice the meaning to the form. Actually, we do not know for certain
that the poet , when he is talking about Terra the Fair , really means or
hints to Zembla. But again ,in terms of the form accordance , the words "
iacheika iashmy" and Zembla are utterly identical

Stan Kelly-Bootle

On 23/07/2011 16:13, "jansymello" <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote:

> Changing stones, I remained intrigued by John Shade's lines describing Terra,
> the fair as an "orbicle of jasp." I thought that he would be describing Terra
> as "reddish" but a more careful consultation of wikipedia showed me that the
> colors of jasper*, although predominantly red, could also be yellow or with
> greenish stripes. Besides, there was a link to an orbicular kind of jasper,
> with interesting ramifications (oregonite could indicate Oregon with various
> other place-names in California and Nebraska - for those who are interested in
> placing New Wye, with the added information of its being located in the east
> of the US in the Appalachian region, at the same latitude of Italian Palermo,
> I think).
> However, Shade's "Terra" seems to correspond to some "otherwordly"space, not
> to the Earth (or Terra).
> I'll quote Don B. Johnson : "Make of it what you will."
> ..............................................................................
> ..............................................................................
> ....................................................
> Jasper, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
> "Jasper, a form of chalcedony,is an opaque, impure variety of silica, usually
> red, yellow, brown or green in color; and rarely blue. This mineral breaks
> with a smooth surface, and is used for ornamentation or as a gemstone. It can
> be highly polished and is used for vases, seals, and at one time for snuff
> boxes...Jasper is basically chert which owes its red color to iron
> inclusions... The jasper is, along with Heliotrope (bloodstone), one of the
> traditional birthstones for March. It's also a stone in the Jewish High
> Priest'sbreastplate, described in Exodus 28.
> Etymology and history: The name means "spotted or speckled stone", and is
> derived via Old French jaspre (variant of Anglo-Norman jaspe) and Latin
> iaspidem (nom. iaspis)) from Greek ἴασπις iaspis, (feminine noun)from a
> Semitic language (cf. Hebrew יושפה yushphah, Akkadian yashupu), ultimately
> from Persian یشپyašp.
> Green jasper was used to make bow drills in Mehrgarh between 4th-5th
> millennium BC.Jasper is known to have been a favorite gem in the ancient
> world; its name can be traced back in Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Assyrian, Greek
> and Latin.On Minoan Crete within present day Greece jasper was carved to
> produce seals circa 1800 BC based upon archaeological recoveries at the palace
> of Knossos.
> Types: Jasper is an opaque rock of virtually any color stemming from the
> mineral content of the original sediments or ash. Patterns arise during the
> consolidation process forming flow and depositional patterns in the original
> silica rich sediment or volcanic ash. Hydrothermal circulation is generally
> thought to be required in the formation of jasper.[citation needed]. The
> classification and naming of jasper presents a challenge. Terms attributed to
> various well-defined materials includes the geographic locality where it is
> found, sometimes quite restricted such as "Bruneau" (a canyon) and "Lahontan"
> (a lake), rivers and even individual mountains, many are fanciful such as
> "Forest Fire" or "Rainbow", while others are descriptive such as "Autumn",
> "Porcelain" or "Dalmatian". A few are designated by the country of origin such
> as a Brown Egyptian or Red African leaving tremendous latitude as to what is
> called what. Picture jaspers exhibit combinations of patterns (such as banding
> from flow or depositional patterns (from water or wind, dendritic or color
> variations) resulting in what appear to be scenes or images, on a cut section.
> Diffusion from a center produces a distinctive orbicular appearance, i.e.,
> Leopard Skin Jasper, or linear banding from a fracture as seen in Leisegang
> Jasper. Healed, fragmented rock produces brecciated (broken) jasper. Examples
> of this can be seen at Llanddwyn Island in Wales."
> Orbicular jasper from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
> "Orbicular jasper from Madagascar Orbicular jasper is a variety of jasper
> which contains variably-colored orbs or spherical inclusions or zones. In
> highly silicified rhyolite ortuff, quartz and feldspar crystallize in radial
> aggregates of needle-like crystals which provide the basis or seed for the
> orbicular structure seen in this kind of jasper. The material is quite
> attractive when polished and is used as an ornamental stone or
> gemstone.Various local or commercial names have been used for the material,
> such as kinradite, oregonite, owyhee jasper, ocean jasper and poppy-patterned
> jasper, depending on the source. Poppy-patterned jasper or poppy jasper is the
> varietal name for material from Morgan Hill, Santa Clara County, California.
> The trade name ocean jasper is used for a variety found along the intertidal
> shores of northeastMadagascar. In Nebraska orbicular jasper is found in
> altered rhyolite beds noted for a variety of jaspers and related agates."

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