NABOKV-L post 0020948, Wed, 3 Nov 2010 14:05:35 -0200

Re: nagol'nïy tulup
Alexey Sklyarenko [to the exact (literal) translation of nagol'nïy tulup ...] "The definition of nagol'nyi tulup in Ada's dictionary is quite correct, but nagol'nyi can easily fool one (I myself was once fooled) into thinking that one wears it na goloe telo, "on the naked body". Elsie seems to believe that Lyovin is naked under his warm sheepskin coat (worn, of course, by Lyovin's coachman, not by Lyovin).

JM: Thanks, Skylark, for translation and explanation. Do you think that the equivocation related to "na goloe telo," has been deliberate on VN's part?
There is a vague suggestion that Elsie du Nord was a "procuress." Is there any word-play with the letters of her name that shines out in Russian?

On subject "Botkin":
Stan K-B: re-examine the dynamics of how Shade, Kinbote/Botkin interact over the Zembla myths...[Tolkien's] Middle-Earth inhabitants would be the subject of serious mock-donnish hilarity... with much playful etymologizing...With such a background in mind, it becomes difficult (impossible?) to claim that some Tolkienists were madder than others in confusing fact and myth.I haven't found any direct links between Tolkien and VN (of which there must be many a-lurking), but one Hobbit-believer ends his posting with two treasured pearls: "Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form" -- Vladimir Nabokov; "Do not read as children do to enjoy themselves, or, as the ambitious do to educate themselves. No, read to live." -- Gustave Flaubert
Jerry Friedman [to Stan] Tolkien's idea of "sub-creation" in the essay "On Fairy-Stories" is closely related to the subject of Shade's poem. Both had sons who have edited and published their fathers' work posthumously, including unfinished work. The differences may be too obvious to mention...Is it possible you remembered my comparison when you posted? Or even more slyly, knew that I participate in those straight-faced discussions of LotR? I'll say in my defense that I do sometimes pause to mention the unreality of Middle-Earth.

JM: Nice fortuitous link between Flaubert and Nabokov, through the Middle-Earth and a dean-donnish etymologized world, Stan.

Flaubert's initial writings were fluently sponteanous, departing from the Romantic first-person narrator and versipel muses ("November"). However Flaubert ( "read to live"!) moved on to acquire a realistic "invisibility" such as in "Madame Bovary."
Nabokov shunned dialogues and, quite often, his characters didn't acquire the kind of life he praised in Dickens (like a coachman, playing with his coin, mentioned in LOL), or Gogol magic. Humbert Humbert and Kinbote., even John Shade, the diarist Herman and other characters, retain the first-person narrator's solipsism. Although Nabokov was emphatic about controlling his "galley-slaves" strangely enough (for me, always an amateur in these matters), he allowed his readers a measure of liberty while they move about his word-worlds.
I always considered this liberty as something natural and even longed for the sobbing embrace of reader and author on a lofty peak. I only noticed how special Nabokov's wooing of the readers operated after reading McEwan's "Solar," in which no stepping outside the guy's bones and envelopes is possible. Their world is a real cage, not fit to "live," even literarily. Nabokov's "liberating solipsism" must derive from how he employs words in their siderating Middle-Earth effects..
All that "real world" thing (and Botkin, as a Shakespearean "sole/soul-mender", running about, too).

btw: While reading about two XVIIth Century mystics (Sor Juana Inés de La Cruz and Padre Antonio Vieira) and their experiences with "Truth," I came across two references to the sky's deceiving bluish appearance, the sky as a "blue lie." In "Pale Fire" ("false azure in the windowpane".."feigned remoteness in the windowpane") the falsity lies not in the sky, but in its azure, feignedly remote, mirror-reflexes.
The "real" and "reality," for Nabokov, is clearly distinguishable from a Catholic mystic's experience, an enormous (really huge!)difference.

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