NABOKV-L post 0017932, Sat, 14 Mar 2009 11:14:38 -0700

madness and avian theme in Pale Fire
Dear Alexey,

If I had a little more energy this morning I could of course answer
this question myself, but let me ask you a bit about Batyushkov. I
think I confuse him, God knows why, with Bogdanovich. Who is
responsible for the absolutely delightful Dushen'ka? Since you
mention Hebe and Zeus, I'll note that this is a re-telling of the
Apuleius tale of Cupid and Psyche.

In any event, what were the circumstances of Batyushkov's madness?
Nabokov doesn't say.

Tiutchev's reaction to the skylark is interesting. I used to hear
meadowlarks when I was growing up and their song, while sung fully
perched, was a very beautiful melody, rippling down then quickly back
up. I can see how a disturbed soul could interpreted it as almost
diabolical laughter. How does a skylark sound (you ought to know!)?


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