NABOKV-L post 0010537, Sun, 7 Nov 2004 11:30:45 -0800

Fw: reading Ada in Portuguese: notes

----- Original Message -----
From: Jansy Berndt de Souza Mello
To: don barton johnson
Sent: Saturday, November 06, 2004 4:03 PM
Subject: Don: reading Ada in Portuguese

Don, I´ve been re-reading ADA and several questions popped up.

Here are some of them:

VN wrote in ADA I, ch10:
" ...the transformation of souci d´eau ( our marsh marigold) into the asinine "care of the water" - although he had at his disposal dozens of synonims, such as mollyblob, marybud, maybubble, and many other nick-names associated with fertility feasts, whatever those are".

First question: why is the word "nickname" hyphenated in the quoted paragraph of VN´s ?
Is it only in my Penguin edition? Is there a suggestion of something like " in the name of nick" ( ???)

Second question: Something quite strange happens when these "nick-names" ( almost inoffensive in English) that are associated with "fertility feasts" are translated into Portuguese!
One of the words is "picão do mato" ( I could not find them in the Oxford Concise Dictionary, nor in the Michaelis but I got this information from a Brazilian VN translator, Jorio Dauster ). Now, "picão" not only refers to a kind of herb whose infusion is used to bathe new-born babies with icteric problems but to a slang word that has a definite sexual connotation ( big-dick) .

Another question: Ada I , chp.13: When writing about Van´s maniambulation, VN speaks of the "earth canceling its pull". But it would not be earth/ground but Earth/planet since only Earth might benevolently cancel gravitational effects.
Now, isn´t Earth, "Terra"? ( in Portuguese we only have this word for ground and planet ).

I may have only a confused idea of VN´s geography... but I always thought that Ardis was in Antiterra, not in Terra. What would be the "earth" in Antiterra that would cancel gravity´s pull?
" Now and then, when he detached his organs of locomotion from the lenient ground, and seemed actually to clap his hands in midair, in a miraculous parody of a ballet jump, one wondered if this dreame indolence of levitation was not a result of the earth´s canceling its pull in a fit of absentminded benevolence"