NABOKV-L post 0010714, Mon, 6 Dec 2004 14:41:12 -0800

Subject
Fwd: Re: Re: morzh. Karamzin's "Poor Liza" VN's Lucette
Date
Body
EDNOTE. The "Bednaya Liza"/Lucette thought is interesting, albeit with the
Nabokovian twist that Lucette drowns herself because the guy WON'T go to bed
with her.
-----
Yes, but she commits suicide, because she thinks that Van is not alone, i.
e. has preferred some other girl (may be, "miss Condor") to her.
Besides, Lucette is a mix of two Lizas. The second is Liza Herzen, who has
actually committed a suicide (she has poisoned herself with ether) because
of unrequited love. There are some parallels between her last note and
Lucette's note from Paris to Van.

Alexey
----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald B. Johnson" <chtodel@gss.ucsb.edu>
To: <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
Sent: Monday, December 06, 2004 9:25 PM
Subject: Re: morzh. Karamzin's "Poor Liza" VN's Lucette


>
> I have to admit that the non-phallic solution offered by Alexander Dolinin
> is most probably right. Karamzin is the author of "Poor Liza." It is his
> most famous novella that tells the sad story of a girl who drowns herself
> because she was left by her lover. In one of my future Nabokovian
"essays,"
> I hope to prove that there is a complicated connection between Karamzin's
> poor Liza and Lucette, as well as between the chapter of Karamzin's
"Letters
> of a Russian Traveller" that is dedicated to Lyon and the L disaster in
ADA.
> And I think somebody (our Editor?) has already pointed out the incest
motifs
> in Karamzin's novella "The Island of Bornholm."
>
> I hope nobody is much too disappointed to learn more about the anatomy of
> walruses and Russian foul language.
>
> Alexey
> ---------------------------------------
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Donald B. Johnson" <chtodel@gss.ucsb.edu>
> To: <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> Sent: Monday, December 06, 2004 3:57 AM
> Subject: Re: Fw: RE: morzh. ADA Scholarship Marches On!
>
>
> >
> > With all due respect to the ingenuity of comments on Ada's Russian pun,
I
> > would like to suggest a non-phallic interpretation of "Morzhey." Alexey
> is
> > right when he says that in Russian only the adjective "morzhovyi" can be
> > used as a part of an obscene phrase in combination with "khui," "kher"
or
> > "khren" (see Roman Jakobson's early article "On Realism in Art" in which
> he
> > discusses the epithets "morzhovyi" and "gollandksii" in Russian phallic
> > expletives). When Ada punningly reads the French toponym Morges (a town
on
> > Lake Geneva specifically mentioned in Karamzin's "Letters of a Russian
> > Traveller") as the plural of Russian "morzh" (+es) and uses it in a
> > genitive case ("Morzhey"), it brings about a phonetic shift and hence
> > creates a French anagram of "J'ai mort" (usually followed by "de
rire")--a
> > succinct message from Lucette.
> >
> > Alexander Dolinin
> >
> >
> >
> > At 08:32 AM 12/5/04 -0800, you wrote:
> > >Dear Brian,
> > >
> > >I don't remember having seen kh. m. in the Kunstkammer (anyway, it was
> long
> > >time ago that I last visited it), but I know that the poet Igor'
Guberman
> > >has one at his house. I saw him demonstrating it to the interviewer in
a
> TV
> > >program. If I remember correctly, it (the thin straight bone resembling
a
> > >school teacher's pointer) was about 80 cm long.
> > >
> > >A Russian's first jump after "morzh" would be not what you think, but a
> > >person who bathes in winter. The people, who enjoy bathing in ice-holes
> in
> > >the Neva, or in other frozen rivers or lakes, are called "morzhi."
> > >But I do not question in the least your Morzhey connection with
Lucette.
> As
> > >to the Usrsus dialogue and its possible echoes in Lucette's message, I
> think
> > >it's the case when "the size is important."
> > >
> > >Alexey
> > > > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > > > From: "Donald B. Johnson" <chtodel@gss.ucsb.edu>
> > > > > To: <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> > > > > Sent: Sunday, December 05, 2004 5:53 AM
> > > > > Subject: Fwd: RE: morzh
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > Dear Alexey,
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Quite right, in my haste I was short-circuiting "khuy morzhovyi"
> and
> > > > > "morzh"
> > > > > > itself. But that doesn't affect the connection with Lucette,
since
> in
> > >a
> > > > > > verbal association a Russian's likely first jump after "morzh"
> will
> > > > > usually
> > > > > > be to "khuy." I don't think the Ursus passage makes that any
> stronger.
> > > > But
> > > > > > as a matter of interest, just how big is the "khuy morzhovyi" in
> > >Peter's
> > > > > > Kunstkammer, or in the wild?
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Brian Boyd
> > > > > >
> > > > > > EDNOTE. In the interest of scolarship, I went over to Peter's
> > > > Kunstkammer
> > > > > last
> > > > > > time I was in S-Pb. It was, alas, its vykhodnoi den' so I failed
> to
> > >see
> > > > > the
> > > > > > museum's most famous exhibit.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > > From: Donald B. Johnson [mailto:chtodel@gss.ucsb.edu]
> > > > > > Sent: Sunday, December 05, 2004 1:05 PM
> > > > > > To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
> > > > > > Subject: Fw: morzh
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Dear Brian,
> > > > > >
> > > > > > I doubt that "morzh" can mean "cock" or "prick" in Russian. At
> least
> > > > not
> > > > > in
> > > > > > the modern Russian. But it can be used with the famous Russian
> > > > > three-letter
> > > > > > word for cock as an epithet, "morzhovyi" (of walrus). The whole
> phrase
> > > > ("X
> > > > > > > morzhovyi") is generally used as an obuse. But, if we
disregard
> > >this,
> > > > > > > the genital organ of a walrus is pretty long, and you remember
> the
> > > > > > > following dialogue between Lucette and Van in part 2, chapter
8:
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > "...it looked to me at least eight inches long -"
> > > > > > > "Seven and a half" murmured modest Van, whose hearing the
music
> > > > > impaired.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Lucette, who is obsessed with sex, means Van's scar, not his
> penis
> > > > > > > ("the ladder, not the lad") this time, but he is too drunk to
> > > > understand
> > > > > > that.
> > > > > > > Lucette, in her turn, is probably aware (although she is even
> more
> > > > > > > drunk
> > > > > > than Van) of the fact that Van misunderstands
> > > > > > > her, and she knows why he
> > > > > > > misunderstands her (because she had seen him making love to
Ada
> in a
> > > > > > > previous chapter). So, "Morzhey" could indeed be a message
from
> > > > > > > Lucette,
> > > > > > but
> > > > > > > via "morzhovyi".
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > best,
> > > > > > Alexey
> > > > > > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > > > > > From: "Donald B. Johnson" <chtodel@gss.ucsb.edu>
> > > > > > > To: <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> > > > > > > Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2004 9:03 PM
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > ---
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > 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 -----
> >
> > ----- End forwarded message -----
>
> ----- End forwarded message -----

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