Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0010762, Thu, 9 Dec 2004 15:27:48 -0800

Fw: aiguillon, Colline, hawl, anedocte, Augustine, VN
----- Original Message -----
From: DN
To: 'D. Barton Johnson'
Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2004 3:09 PM
Subject: aiguillon, Colline, hawl, anedocte, Augustine, VN

Dear list,

One last little batch, if I may, to clear my head for RTR-Planeta TV, who are coming tomorrow to ask "why DN moved from Switzerland to Italy" (they got it inside out), "why VN never went to Russia" (sic), i tak dalee, and to get an earful about the L Disaster and the upcoming "trial of DN in Moscow." Now the fun starts. Of course L will not be named, ce qui va le conduire bananes (guidarlo banane), Carolyn. Jansy, your anedocte brought on by Phil's hawl moth, and the cute quote from old Augustine, remind me of a favorite saying of Father's: Si la jeunesse savait, si la vieillesse pouvait! And oh yes -- you omitted one meaning of "Colline": the philosopher in Henri Murger's Scènes de la vie de bohème (1848), which became Puccini's opera La Bohème, in which I made my debut in the role of Colline, and Luciano Pavarotti simultaneously made his as Rodolfo.

Best salutations to all,

Dmity Nabkov

PS: I quite forgot -- about the aiguillon rouge: aiguillon does indeed mean the stinger of hymenoptera, in their mature state, such as bees, wasps, etc. It can also be a rod with a point for herding cattle, OR, figuratively, something that stimulates or excites, in various senses. Since caterpillars can be prickly but, to the best of my layman's knowledge, have no stingers, my guess is that the name was inspired by appearance only, and is as innocent of function as the peak called Sex Rouge on the Diablerets or the clitoris. Good night before my tongue goes through my cheek.