Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026924, Sun, 27 Mar 2016 02:14:54 -0300

[NABOKV-L} A PS and an added note to "Spuma"/sperm (not yet found
in AdaOnline)

PS: I fogot to add the lines about Mascodagama's ambiguous reversion: "The
unpleasant colossus kept strutting up and down the stage for a while, then
the strut changed to the restless walk of a caged madman, then he whirled,
and to a clash of cymbals in the orchestra and a cry of terror.in the
gallery, Mascodagama turned over in the air and stood on his head." (ADA
1,30) to the incomplete quotes about "symbols in an orchal orchestra" (ADA

A note: The apparent indication of "prowling blac spumas" to the feline (a
puma) is partially misleading. A blend of bodily occurrences is alluded to
(intestinal emissions, sperm, blood expelled from the lungs in TB), almost
as if parodying ancient medical texts:

"For Aristotle, in fact, as for Pythagoras before him, the male semen came
from the blood. According to Pythagoras, it was spuma sanguinis ["foam of
the blood"]; according to Aristotle is was a spumosum excrementum ["foamy
excretion"] that derived from the purest blood and was the result of a slow
coction in the sperm ducts" (Cf. The Life Sciences in the Eighteenth-Century
French Thought, Jacques Roger. Stanford University Press, 1997. Ed. Keith R.
Benson, p.42.)

Here are the two paragraphs on the theme of "hammock and honey" :1. The
hammock, a comfortable oblong nest, reticulated his naked body either under
the weeping cedar that sprawled over one corner of a lawn, and granted a
partial shelter in case of a shower, or, on safer nights, between two tulip
trees (where a former summer guest, with an opera cloak over his clammy
nightshirt, had awoken once because a stink bomb had burst among the
instruments in the horsecart, and striking a match, Uncle Van had seen the
bright blood blotching his pillow). (ADA 1,12); 2. His nights in the hammock
(where that other poor youth had cursed his blood cough and sunk back into
dreams of prowling black spumas and a crash of symbols in an orchal
orchestra - as suggested to him by career physicians) were now haunted not
so much by the agony of his desire for Ada, as by that meaningless space
overhead, underhead, everywhere, the demon counterpart of divine time,
tingling about him and through him, as it was to retingle - with a little
more meaning fortunately - in the last nights of a life, which I do not
regret, my love (ADA 1,12).

Notes about them in AdaOnline -
<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/ada112.htm#72.19> 72.19-20: had awoken once
because a stink-bomb had burst among the instruments in the horsecart:
Darkbloom: "horsecart: an old anagram. It leads here to a skit on Freudian
dream charades ('symbols in an orchal orchestra')." Cf. 73.26-30 and nn.
Both passages anticipate Van's later work as a psychologist, especially his
attack on Freudian and other symbolism in dreams, 363.03-364.07. MOTIF:
<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/motifs.htm#dream> dream.

<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/ada112.htm#73.26> 73.26-30: His nights in
the hammock . . . . career physicians): See 72.19-20 and n. MOTIF:
<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/motifs.htm#dream> dream.

<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/ada112.htm#73.28> 73.28: dreams of prowling
black spumas: <http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/7328spuma.htm> pumas in the
spume; Cancogni 150 suggests an etymological pun on the derivation of
"prowl" from Old French parrouler, intensifier of rouler, "to roll." In
Ulysses on the eve of the action the minor character Haines has been raving
in his sleep "about shooting a
<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/7328spuma.htm> black panther." (Chapter I
lines 57, 61-62 in the Gabler edition). Cf. Ada 375.21-22: "We interweaved
like serpents and sobbed like pumas"; 395.12: " 'You do the puma,' he said.
. . . "
<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/ada112.htm#73.28> 73.28-29: a crash of
symbols in an orchal orchestra: symbols: pun on "cymbals"; orchal, "of
testicles" (apparently Nabokov's formation from the rare "orchic" and its
source, the Greek orchis, "testicle"), perhaps under the influence of
<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/732829orca.htm> orca, "killer whale," given
the "prowling black spumas" in the previous phrase, since
<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/732829orca.htm> orcas are mostly black and do
indeed prowl in the spume for seal lions in shallow water around the coasts
of southern South America, also part of the habitat of the puma. Cf. 183.34:
"to a clash of cymbals in the orchestra" (Van's Mascodagama performances).

Btw: in another reference to a "stink bomb" there is a suggestion of a young
man's farts while bathing in a pool: "He always remembered, with - shudders
of revulsion, the indoor pool of his prep school, the running noses, the
pimpled chests, the chance contacts with odious male flesh, the suspicious
bubble bursting like a small stink bomb, and especially, especially, the
bland, sly, triumphant and absolutely revolting wretch who stood in
shoulder-high water and secretly urinated (and, God, how he had beaten him
up, though that Vere de Vere was three years older than he)." (ADA 1,32)

* - (as in my former posting): "The latter alteration might be more
complicated than just the sonorous association between "van" and "vin"
(wine, in French), because Van chose to set down the word "cart" (instead of
"carte") thereby suggesting another vehicle (cart/van), one which now
directs to an anagram that leads from horsecart ("a stink bomb had burst
among the instruments in the horsecart." 1,12) to "a skit on Freudian dream
charades[ ]". What is VN's malicious intention towards Freudian analysts?
Is there a connection between Van and his uncle Ivan's death by tuberculosis
and his 18-year-old sister Marina's grief?" - following Darkbloom's: p.61.
horsecart: an old anagram. It leads here to a skit on Freudian dream
charades ('symbols in an orchal orchestra'), p.62.

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