Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0021912, Sat, 6 Aug 2011 10:20:33 -0300

Re: ezhovye rukavitsy
Alexey Sklyarenko: 1. "But the wife is not a gauntlet//that one would shake off from one's fair hand...Белой (white) means here what krasnyi (red) sometimes means: "fair." The final reconciliation between the whites and the reds?"
2. "Unfortunately, I failed to find an English translation in the Internet. The epithet ezhovye comes from yozh, "hedgehog." One is reminded of Ezhov, the head of Stalin's secret police in 1936-38 (after Yagoda, before Beria)..."more real" in my previous post should be "more vivid" (but in this context "real" and "vivid" are almost synonyms...) "

Stan Kelly-Bootle:" It’s a deep linguistic point: deeper than just saying ruka means both ‘arm’ and ‘hand.’ It’s the puzzling way in which different languages can apply different taxonomies when ‘naming parts.’ Colours and body-parts, in particular, often have lexemes that map into distinct conceptual areas."

JM: An important warning in relation to linguistic points, Stan. I'd been puzzled before by Alexey's choice in translating a purpotedly "white hand" as a "fair hand" since, in this case, "fair" would more easily suggest a feminine elegant hand, instead of a firm masculine one dressed in a gauntlet. Detail-loving Nabokov might enjoy alternating the "reconcilitation of whites and reds" or the indifferentiation of "body-part," with the precision of contextualizing finger,hand,arm,sleeve and glove attached by a thread...

In Brazilian floklore there's no headless horseman that I know of, but close to the cattle-breeding pampas they describe a spitfire "headless mule" (mula sem cabeca), totally unrelated to the British Jag sportscar (although, from the idiosyncratic psychoanalytic point of view, I've just related the two spitfires).
btw: Don B.Johnson's excerpt from his paper is to be treasured...

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