NABOKV-L post 0016495, Thu, 12 Jun 2008 09:59:08 -0400

Subject
THOUGHTS: PF & Webster's 2nd
Date
Body
I had intended to get this finished in time for VN's birthday, but obviously I missed that deadline. As I said a couple of weeks ago, I find it interesting to discover the sources that inspired particular details in VN's fiction. Clearly, one of these sources was VN's Bible-like dictionary, Webster's 2nd. Because I am most familiar with the lexicon employed in Pale Fire, I decided to see how many words (or closely related words) from that novel appeared as guide words and/or illustrations in Webster's 2nd. The list below (unfortunately without cross-referenced pages) gives us a small window into VN's artistic process. Here 'tis:


Guide Words
Acanthus leaf
Ampelis (syn. of Bombycilla)
Arcadia
Bote, bot
Bracken
Degree
Eberthella
Flowret
Gooseboy
Gutnish
Impress
Mandible
Mason
Mongrel
Orbicular
Pan
Parchment
Phalangeal
Prisoner of Zenda
Solecism
Vanessa
Versipel

Small Illustrations
Cedar Waxwing
Cicada
Compass Rose
Coronation Chair (see PF pg. 224, "shaped almost exactly as the coronation chair of a Scottish king")
Crow
Eton Student (with “Eton Collar”)
Faun of Praxiteles
Glowworm
Hazel (leaf and ament)
Holds (wrestling): Half-Nelson, Hammerlock, Headlock, Stranglehold (recall Kinbote's Zemblan wrestling holds)
Horseshoes
Indra
Involute (leaf)
Jackboot
Larch
Laurel
Lupine
Mammoth
Prehistoric Man: Java, Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon (recall the model in the Exton museum, whom John Shade resembles)
Mangle
Martin
Medusa
Mercury
Michaelmastide
Mockingbird
Pan
Parachute
Red Admirable
Ruffed Grouse
Stick Insect
Virginia Creeper
Bohemian Waxwing
Wood Duck
Yew (notes root in Old Slavic, iva willow; recall that Kinbote says that the French word for the yew, if, is the Zemblan word for willow)

Illustrations from Full-Page Plates
“Aircraft”: Henry Farman’s Airplane, Santos Dumont Demoiselle
“Automobiles”: Packard
“Common Birds of America”: Cedar Waxwing, Baltimore Oriole, Bobolink, Robin
“Common Butterflies & Moths”: Red Admirable, Monarch, Luna Moth
“Colors”: chrysoprase green, salmon, emerald green
“Orchids”: Disa Uniflora
“Gems”: chrysoprase, topaz, ruby, emerald, jasper
“Trees”: linden, red cedar juniper, hickory

If you would like to see where each of these words appears in the novel, just use this:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0679723420/ref=sib_dp_pt/105-2896568-9183620#reader-link


Best,
Matt Roth

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