Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0015551, Sat, 6 Oct 2007 01:25:37 -0300

Fw: [NABOKV-L] THOUGHTS re: Kinbote's academic discipline
Jerry Friedman: (a) On Toothworth and Catskin: 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...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"...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;
(b) On Kinbote's teaching: One striking fact is that Kinbote tells us nothing at all ... As Zembla doesn't exist, I think we can disregard Sylvia's comment...Brian Boyd sums up the evidence that Kinbote teaches Scandinavian Studies (...) He adds that Kinbote probably did arrive (not by parachute) in the previous October... Was Kinbote a professor of Russian when he knew Shade?A thousand times no, but a few times yes.

Thank you for the clarification on "that obtained" and that it also demonstrates Shade's famimliarity with scientific jargon. And yet the sentence still sounds clumsy to my foreign ears:
CK holds: "He never tired of illustrating ...the extraordinary blend of Canadian Zone and Austral Zone that "obtained," as he put it, in that particular spot (... a long sentence...).northern species of birds, etc"

Shade must have also studied insects from very close:A dark Vanessa with a crimson band is not a description anyone unfamiliar with butterflies could have written looking at the garden from his porch, and I imagine that Shade might have also worked on the "toothworths" long before he used them in his poem.

When Shade wrote: "I'm reasonably sure that we survive/ And that my darling somewhere is alive" (978/9) and a few lines afterwards he added: "... the year I married you./ Where are you? In the garden. I can see.." Wouldn't it be more natural if, should "my darling" mean Hazel, to have written "our darling"?

(b) Is the expression "to arrive, to drop by parachute" also used figuratively in English ( i.e, to attain a covetted post not by merit but through someone else's powerful intervention)?

Search the archive: http://listserv.ucsb.edu/archives/nabokv-l.html
Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu
Visit Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
View Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm