NABOKV-L post 0010698, Sat, 4 Dec 2004 18:55:29 -0800

Subject
Fwd: Twin crosses
Date
Body
The twin cock crosses are not all rare even now.

I'm no expert on this, but aren't they supposed to suggest, individually,
Van's view of Ada as she leans way down to insert the plug? The fact that
they are cocks is a red herring, for me anyway.

Mary Krimmel

At 10:03 AM 12/4/04 -0800, you wrote:
>---
>
>Dear Jansy, (Jansy Berndt de Souza Mello <jansy@aetern.us>)
>
>Yes, but "twin cock crosses" is a very accurate description of old-style
>faucets (W2: cock, 6a: A faucet, tap, or valve or the like for starting,
>stopping or regulating flow); it foes not literally refer to a penis. At the
>same time, of course, Ada's other grip catches at Van's valve. And the twin
>cock crosses also bring to mind the watery twins Marina and Aqua (who has a
>problem with tapwater), and their foreshadowing of Ada and Lucette, who
>bursts into the room in the same sentence, just after Van's orgasm.
>
>Nabokov keeps "penis" out of his text, as Jeff observes, yet one of the key
>moments of the novel is Ada's decision to return to Van at Mont Roux, in
>1922: "'I told him to turn,' she said, 'somewhere near Morzhey ('morses' or
>'walruses,' a Russian pun on 'Morges'--maybe a mermaid's message)." "Morzh"
>in this sense is vulgar Russian for "cock" or "prick," and as "the mermaid's
>message" indicates (Lucette has been explicitly called a mermaid shortly
>before), and the Ophelia-like punning on private parts also suggests
>(Lucette puns extensively on clitoris and other sexual terms, especially in
>III.5, but again Nabokov eschews "clitoris" itself), Ada's decision to
>return to Van seems to have something to do with dead Lucette.
>
>Viktor Krivulin's poem, Jeff's translation and Jeff's and Alexey's
>commentary are delightful.
>
>Brian Boyd
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Donald B. Johnson [mailto:chtodel@gss.ucsb.edu]
>Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2004 3:58 PM
>To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
>Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: Krivulin poem re Nabokov. Translation
>
>Dear Jeff,
>
>You wrote that although Nabokov was always very precise in his terminology
>"this precision rarely if ever extended to human genital organs".
>And yet, the examples you offered were all only applicable to the "penis"
>...
>
>
>I sellected only one paragraph with VN=B4s euphemisms for the female sex an=
>d
>adjacent parts in "Ada" : "where she strained across the low tub to turn on
>both taps and then bent over to insert the bronze chained plug; it got
>sucked in by itself, however, while he steadied her lovely lyre and next
>moment was at the suede-soft root, was gripped, was deep between the
>familiar, incomparable, crimson-lined lips. She caught at the twin cock
>crosses, thus involuntarily increasing the sympathetic volume of the water=
>=B4s
>noise, and Van emitted a long groan of deliverance" ( Penguin ed, pag. 308).
>
>Anyway, I enjoyed your sentence about "a penis is never simply a penis for
>Nabokov" which nicely contrasts with Freud=B4s: " a cigar sometimes is only =
>a
>cigar".
>
>
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Donald B. Johnson" <chtodel@gss.ucsb.edu>
>To: <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
>Sent: Friday, December 03, 2004 6:07 PM
>Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: Krivulin poem re Nabokov. Translation
>
>
> > From Jeff Edmunds <jhe2@psulias.psu.edu>:
> >
> > Thank you Alexey Skylarenko for pointing out the shortcomings of my
> > translation, especially the major goof in the second stanza (about
> > which more below).
> >
> > As Alexey notes, "'Mgnove' is a truncated (and nonexisting) form of
> > 'mgnovenie,' a moment." This form wonderfully embodies the "fragment"
> > mentioned in the first stanza. Another of the charms of the first
> > stanza
>is
> > the artistry which which the verb "zaselo" (got stuck) is literally
> > stuck in the phrase "v moei golove" (in my head): "v moei zaselo
> > golove." (Which calls to my mind the masterful first sentence of Alain
> > Robbe-Grillet's _La jalousie_ [of which Nabokov said in a French
> > interview published in 1959, "C'est le plus beau roman d'amour depuis
> > Proust"], in which the structure
>
> > of the sentence serves as a textual analog of the image described:
> > "Now
>the
> > shadow of the column--the column which supports the southwest corner
> > of
>the
> > roof--divides the corresponding corner of the veranda into two equal
>parts."
> >
> > As for stanza two, I would like to explain one reason why I misread
> > the text as implying that it was Nabokov who "conceal[s] the genital
> > organ / With metaphysical delight." Nabokov was always precise in his
> > terminology (cf., inter alia, Peter Lubin's paper in ZEMBLA), but this
> > precision
>rarely
> > if ever extended to human genital organs. So far as I can recall,
> > Nabokov does not once in his published prose or poetry use the word
> > "penis." (He
> > *does* use the term in one of his letters to Edmund Wilson. If I
> > recall correctly, he says, in reference to the sex scenes in one of
> > Wilson's books, that despite their frankness, they are not arousing,
> > in fact they are about as arousing as "trying to open a can of tuna with
>one's penis."
> > Incidentally, the delivery of this line by Dmitri Nabokov playing his
> > father during a performance of Terry Quinn's "Dear Bunny, Dear Volodya,"
> > was, for me, a delightful moment of shared hilarity during the 1998
>Cornell
> > Nabokov Centenary Festival.)
> >
> > Whether the "pryshchushchii persik" (spurting peach) or "priap"
> > (priapus) in Chapter XIII of Prignlashenie na kazn' (Invitation to a
> > Beaheading), or the much more famous "scepter of my passion" in
> > Lolita, a penis is never simply a penis for Nabokov. Few writers, it
> > might be argued, have so artistically concealed "the genital organ" with
>"metaphysical delight."
> > Hence my too-hasty willingness to see Nabokov as the concealer in
> > stanza two rather than as the explainer of this concealment.
> >
> > Finally, as I mentioned to Alexey in a personal message thanking him
> > for his corrections, I was also distracted by the fact that I had
> > composed a more ribald, even less literal, but rhymed version of the
> > second stanza, not sent to the list, in which I replaced "genital
> > organ" with "cock" and rendered "polotenchikom" as "with a sock."
> >
> > Again, my apologies to Mr. Krivulin, and now to The Red Hot Chili
> > Peppers as well.
> >
> > Jeff Edmunds
> >
> >
> > At 10:24 AM 12/2/2004 -0800, you wrote:
> > >----- Forwarded message from sklyarenko@users.mns.ru -----
> > > Date: Thu, 2 Dec 2004 19:36:39 +0300
> > > From: alex <sklyarenko@users.mns.ru>
> > >
> > >Thank you, Jeff Edmunds, for your translation and for providing a
> > >link to
>the
> > >complete version of this poem. I found it on a different web page
> > >(http://www.vavilon.ru/texts/krivulin4.html) where the poem was
> > >published without the four last lines.
> > >The poem's strange title apparently needs a short commentary.
> > >"Mgnove" is
>a
> > >truncated (and nonexisting) form of "mgnovenie," a moment, and the
> > >whole
>title
> > >plays on the first line of Pushkin's famous poem "Ya pomnyu chudnoe
> > >mgnoven'ye"
> > >(I remember a wondrous moment)addressed to Anna Kern (who was to
> > >become Pushkin's mistress a couple of years after he had written that
>poem).
>That's
> > >why "mgnove" is compared to a fragment of some antique statue in
> > >lines
>3-4.
> > >I think the translation is marvelous, but I would like to correct one
>little
> > >mistake. The author of the poem doesn't want Nabokov to conceal the
>genital
> > >organ (of the statue) with metaphysical delight, he wants him to
> > >explain why it is concealed. Also, styd i sram (the phrase occurs in
> > >ADA, ch. 38) means simply "shame."
> > >
> > >Krivulin has also a poem entitled Chetvyortaya Sestra ("The Fourth
> > >Sister") that
> > >might have been inspired (and might be not) by Chekhov's well-known
> > >play
>"The
> > >Four Sisters" (again, see ADA).
> > >
> > >Alexey
> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > From: Donald B. Johnson
> > > To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
> > > Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2004 3:36 AM
> > > Subject: Fwd: Re: Krivulin poem re Nabokov. Translation
> > >
> > >
> > > EDNOTE. With thanks to Jeff Edmunds on ZEMBLA's Birthday.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > From Jeff Edmunds <jhe2@psulias.psu.edu>:
> > >
> > > The version of this poem that reached me via the list was both
> > > garbled
>and
> > > truncated, perhaps as a result of the encoding. The apparently
>complete
> > > version is available at
> > >
> > > http://www.vavilon.ru/texts/prim/krivulin4.html
> > >
> > > about two-thirds of the way down the page.
> > >
> > > Below is an English version, composed hastily and immediately
> > > postprandially. It is whimsical, ugly, unrhymed, and probably
> > > wrong in
>at
> > > least three ways. My apologies to Viktor Krivulin.
> > > ---------------------------------------------
> > >
> > > Marvelous Moment
> > >
> > > Why did you, marvelous moment,
> > > Get stuck in my head
> > > Like a fragment from the naughty bits
> > > Of some antique statue?
> > >
> > > Let Nabokov explain
> > > The meaning of Russian diffidence and
> > > Shame, and conceal the genital organ
> > > With metaphysical delight
> > > As with a wisp of cloth --
> > >
> > > Why? What for and from whom?
> > > Harmony is deity
> > > On line, connected to us
> > > So that we don't see, but we know,
> > > There is something there, where there is nothing
> > >

----- End forwarded message -----