NABOKV-L post 0019539, Mon, 1 Mar 2010 15:30:14 -0500

Subject
Re: Wilson's Night Thoughts, redwop
Date
Body
Jansy,
You asked about the rest of Wilson's Night Thoughts. Alas, there is not much there that relates to PF. There is one other amphisbaenic poem, called "Reversals, or Plus ca change," but it doesn't yield anything of interest that I could see. As for the rest: Wilson mentions a "moon-ensorcelled nympholept" in one poem, but it may have been written after Lolita. Then there is a limerick, "Le Violon D'Ingres De Sirine," which reads:

Our perverse old [Russian epithet I can't transcribe] Vladimir
Was stroking a butterfly's femur.
"I prefer this," he said,
"To a lady in bed,
Or even a velvet-eyed lemur."

There is no mention of Red Wop that I could find. On that subject, however, I did find, in another source, a reference to this particular reversal. In 1927, while VN was living in Berlin, the German publisher Teubner (Leipzig und Berlin) published a book by W. E. Collinson called Contemporary English: A Personal Speech Record. The book (in English) was "written primarily for foreign students and teachers of English" who wanted to familiarize themselves with English slang and colloquialisms. I suppose VN could have been in the target audience for such a text. On page 10, Collinson says that his parents employed "the back-slang form redwop to disguise the fact that we were being given a 'powder'." Presumably powder means medicine here. Later on, Collinson spends a chapter reporting on the slang that he encountered as a student at Dulwich College, which might remind us of Dulwich Rd. and forest in PF. But these references are probably coincidental and in any case aren't very enlightening.

Matt

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