Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020774, Mon, 27 Sep 2010 18:45:18 -0300

Re: [Fwd: Re: [NABOKV-L] Botkin]
Sergei Soloviev, in response to Matt: "...and why, Matt, if you like to entertain your (and our) self (ves) with wild theories, do you think that indeed Botkin was teaching languages? Because (as Kinbote) he says so? Apparently Wordsmith is supposed to be small, so the teachers of different departments (even humanities and "natural" sciences) could mix, socialize, know each other. Maybe "Zemblan" is is in fact mathematics (for example)? And mathematicians often have some very large (even if superficial) erudition in other domains, and often go crazy..."

JM: Dear Sergei... why not enjoy the ride in a merry-go-round? After all, there must be less than eight-degrees of separation between myths, theories, authors, anagramatic games, novels, historical and personal data. I don't know how much one needs to learn about cosmography and stars to follow hidden points in "Pale Fire" ( Astronomer Prof.Starover Blue may inform us...), nor if they indicate, as it happens in Dante's and James Joyce's writings, special dates, festivities, events.
Besides the analogies with Sun and Moon, a search for the crown jewels, anagrams with "corona" (plus farmers, cows, korova and herdsmen to boot), a consultation of the heavenly canopy (thru wiki) may bring us a lot of amusing side-tracks.
I even found another link related to M.Roth's "versipel/werewolf" theory, passing through conflagrating stars before we reach Lycaon. His grandson,Arcas, in one of the mythological readings, was set in the sky by Zeus as "Böote" ( a kin to Kinbote?) and it is one of the stars bordering the Blaze Star (one "m" and we'd find an anagram for "Zembla"), a recurrent nova named T Corona Borealis and popularly known as the Northern Crown....*

Corona Borealis is the crown Ariadne wore at her wedding. It was made by the supreme goldsmith, Hephaestus, at his underwater smithy. The story is connected to a more notable myth, of the Minotaur and of Theseus, who was destined to kill it. To do so, he needed Ariadne's help.This beautiful young maiden was the daughter of Minos, king of Crete. She was also the half-sister to the Minotaur, the half-man half-bull which lived at the centre of a labyrinth...As he arrived in Crete, Theseus was met by Minos, who challenged the young man to prove he was indeed the son of Poseidon. Minos threw a gold ring into the sea, and told Theseus to fetch it. Theseus dove into the deep, and was met by dolphins which escorted him to the palace of the Nereids. Thetis, one of the Nereid sisters (or sea nymphs), gave Theseus a jewelled crown that Hephaestus had made. With the gold ring and the crown, Theseus swam back to Crete. This feat received the loving admiration of Ariadne. Ariadne had a magic ball of twine that could roll out by itself and follow the path to the centre of the labyrinth, where the Minotaur was kept. She promised to help Theseus kill the Minotaur if he would marry her and take her back to Athens. Theseus agreed, so she gave him the ball of twine. Theseus followed the rolling twine to the centre of the labyrinth and promptly killed the Minotaur. Unfortunately he forgot his promise. Or, some say, he did marry Ariadne, giving her the jewelled crown as a wedding present. And then he later abandoned her on the isle of Naxos, on the way to Athens.Others have it that Theseus sailed off, leaving a sleeping Ariadne to pine for her loss. She implored her father, Zeus, to make amends. Zeus took pity and sent Dionysus to comfort his daughter.
Another version has Dionysus visiting Naxos and falling in love with Ariadne, so he cast a spell on Theseus. Theseus then forgot all about Ariadne and sailed off for Athens. In any case, Dionysus took her for his bride and placed the jewelled crown of Hephaestus on her head. They raised four sons and `lived happily ever after'. When Ariadne died Dionysus took the wedding crown and placed it in the heavens between Hercules and Bootes. The constellation Corona Borealis is found nearly midway between Arcturus and Vega; a little closer to the first of these stars. From Arcturus move up to Izar (epsilon Bootis) and then east fifteen degrees to alpha CrB. The seven stars that make up the crown are not terribly bright, except for Gemma, or Alphecca (alpha Coronae Borealis), which is a 2.2 magnitude star 75 light years away... The constellation includes several fine binaries, an unusual variable, and an extremely faint cluster of galaxies.
Boötes or Arctophylax
Boötes is a constellation in the northern sky, located between 0° and +60° declination, 13 and 16 hours of right ascensionon the celestial sphere. The name comes from the Greek Βοώτης, Boōtēs, meaning herdsman or plowman (literally, ox-driver; from boos, related to theLatin bovis, “cow”). The "ö" in the name is a diaeresis, not an umlaut, meaning that each 'o' is to be pronounced separately. Boötes was one of the 48 constellations described by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy and is now one of the 88 modern constellations. It contains the third brightest star in the night sky, Arcturus. τ Boötis, a relatively Sun-like star, is orbited by the massive hot Jupiter planet τ Boötis Ab. It was the fourth extrasolar planet to be discovered and is one of the most studied. Boötes also hosts a large number of double stars suitable for viewing by amateur astronomers.
Exactly whom Boötes is supposed to represent is not clear. According to one version, he was a ploughman who drove the oxen in the constellation Ursa Major using his two dogs Chara and Asterion (from the constellation Canes Venatici). The oxen were tied to the polar axis and so the action of Boötes kept the heavens in constant rotation...Boötes was also supposed to have invented the plough. This is said to have greatly pleased Ceres, the goddess of agriculture who asked Jupiter to give Boötes a permanent fixture in the heavens as a reward for doing this.Another version portrays Boötes as a grape grower called Icarius, who one day invited the Roman god Bacchus, also called Dionysus, to inspect his vineyards. Bacchus revealed the secret of wine making to Icarius, who was so impressed by this alcoholic beverage that he invited his friends round to sample it. Having never tasted wine before, they all drank too much and woke up the next morning with terrible hangovers; and they made the mistaken assumption that Icarius had tried to poison them. It was decided that Icarius should pay the price with his own life, and he was swiftly murdered in his sleep. Bacchus placed Icarius in the stars to honor him.Following another reading the constellation is identified with Arcas, son of Zeus and Callisto. Arcas was brought up by his maternal grandfather Lycaon, to whom one day Zeus went and had a meal. To verify that the guest was really the king of the gods, Lycaon killed his grandson and prepared a meal made from his flesh. Zeus noticed and became very angry, transforming Lycaon into a wolf and gave back life to his son.In the meantime Callisto had been transformed into a she-bear, by Zeus' wife, Hera, who was angry at Zeus' infidelity. When he was grown up, Arcas met with the she-bear and, since obviously he didn't recognize her as his mother, he began to chase Callisto. Callisto, followed by Arcas, sheltered herself in a temple, a sacred place whose profaners were convicted to death. To avoid such fate, Zeus decided to set them in the sky, Arcas as Boötes and Callisto as Ursa Major.This is a rare version of the myth surrounding Ursa Major, as the myth usually holds that Arcas is transformed into a bear as well (becoming Ursa Minor), and in such versions Boötes has no part. Ursa Minor, and Ursa Major, are constellations whose identification only originated in later classical Greece, and in Rome, and as such Boötes kept separate associations dating from much earlier.In ancient Babylon the stars of Bootes were known as SHU.PA. They were apparently depicted as the god Enlil, who was the leader of the Babylonian pantheon and special patron of farmers Illustrations of Boötes traditionally represent him as a herdsman with a club or staff, holding two hunting dogs on a leash and following Ursa Major around the pole.

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