Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015543, Fri, 5 Oct 2007 10:42:54 -0400

Re: THOUGHTS: Hazel Shade & Catskin/Catkins
In addition to what Brian Boyd said below, Shade has read
"the first scientific works on flowers, birds, butterflies,
and so forth", some of which have "white" illustrations
where they should have "colored" ones. Presumably they
would have shown both kinds of toothwort.

The paragraph Jansy quoted illustrates Shades' knowledge of
scientific names, as well as his use of the academic "obtain"
and technical terms for the local ecology. He probably has
a lot of formal knowledge of natural history, local and
European, whether he got it from his parents or Hentzler
or his own reading.

Matt, in my opinion, the existence of the other kind of
toothwort doesn't mean the connection you saw is
irrelevant, any more than the "pale fire" quotation in
/Timon/ means the more diffuse one in /Hamlet/ is

Jansy, this sense of "obtain" appears in the New Shorter
Oxford English Dictionary as "Be prevalent, customary, or
established; subsist, hold good; be in force or in vogue".
In this case "subsist" is probably the closest and "exist"
might be closer. I can easily imagine it in the stuffier
kind of academic paper. I interpret Kinbote's quotation
marks as meaning that Shade said it but Kinbote never would,
as he uses more vigorous language.

Jerry Friedman

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