NABOKV-L post 0010821, Fri, 17 Dec 2004 18:47:09 -0800

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Re: Fwd: RE: Re: Re: Query: wordplay in Russian
Date
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Hello Eric, Alexey and List

Although I also haven´t found any clear textual clue for "old demon sleeping
with his niece", father/daughter incest is often described by VN in the
fantasies entertained by his characters.
Such was Humbert Humbert´s, when dreaming about a batch of Lolitas, one
coming out of the other, rather like those Babushka Russian dolls - which
are figuratively quite close to VN´s style himself.
There were also transgenerational incestuous fantasies by a customer in one
of young Eric´s "Floramores", a certain old Baron perhaps?
Thanks for demonstrating the incorrectness of "Adelia" instead of Adelaida
and adding examples from Ada and "Dar".
My mistake in a way illustrates Alex´s and our ED´s hypothesis.
In Ada, from "Corada/Adula" there is a move towards "Cordelia" ( and not
Adelia!).
Those who have seen Lawrence Olivier performing as King Lear might have
perceived more clearly than it emerges in Shakespeare´s drama the strong
incestuous connection between the ailing king and his youngest daughter
Cordelia.
Jansy
----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald B. Johnson" <chtodel@gss.ucsb.edu>
To: <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 8:19 PM
Subject: Re: Fwd: RE: Re: Re: Query: wordplay in Russian


> Another common form of the name Ada is, in Russian, Adelaida. Surprisingly
> enough, it also ends with "da." If I remember correctly, Ada is once
called,
> or refered to, as "Adelaida Danilovna."
> The heroine of "Dar" (apart from Russian Literature) is Zina, or Zinaida,
> whom her stepfather tastelessly calls "Aida."
>
> I can add to Eric Naiman's witty observations that the boy whom Ada has in
> mind when she says that she is "on the verge of a revolting amorous
> adventure" is most prbably Johnny Starling, "a young star from
> Fuerteventura." Ventura is, I know, near Los Angeles, but in Patagonia
there
> is an old town called Fuerte Bulnes.
> Also, I wonder if South America (I mean its form) wasn't compared to a
> monstrous penis somewhere in pornographic poetry?
>
> I still think that "old Demon slept with his niece," but it would have
taken
> me too long to prove my point.
>
> Alexey
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Donald B. Johnson" <chtodel@gss.ucsb.edu>
> To: <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 7:02 PM
> Subject: Re: Fwd: RE: Re: Re: Query: wordplay in Russian
>
>
> > From Eric Naiman:
> > One more thing to add here, especially relevant given the sexualized
> > language play in this passage. Ada is sur la verge, she aches for the
> > flesh of yew, she wants to travel with Van to the burning tip of
> Patagonia.
> > So she adds "Send me an aerogram with one Russian word -- the name of my
> > name and wit." Da has been sexualized, of course -- not only by Joyce
but
> > also by VN himself in that letter to Shakovskaia which Field says is
> > indebted to Molly Bloom:
> > "Iam afraid you will be disappointed by my next novel: the title
> of
> > which has grown longer by a letter, not Da but Dar, thus transforming
the
> > initial affirmation into something blooming, paganistic, even priapic"
> >
> > But what is more important here, surely, is an Elizabethan meaning of
> "wit"
> > -- from the French vit -- which meant the same as verge, though it
could,
> > apparently also be feminized in the 16th c. to refer to male or female
> > members. So being at wit's end is the same as being on the verge or at
> the
> > burning tip of Patagonia. Ada's wit is not only exhausted but in a
frenzy
> > (erotomania). One might say that Ada is all about Wit (or Woe from
Wit).
> >
> > Nabokov tended to use many of his sexual puns more than once -- this is
no
> > exception, as we see from that passage in, I think, chapter 17 of
> > Transparent Things:
> >
> > A newspaper or coffee-table book hid such preparations as he absolutely
> had
> > to conduct, wretched Hugh, and woe to him if he winced or fumbled during
> > the actual commerce; but far worse than the awful pull of long underwear
> in
> > the chaos of his pinched crotch or the crisp contact with her
armor-smooth
> > stockings was the prerequisite of light colloquy, about acquaintances,
or
> > politics, or zodiacal signs, or servants, and in the meantime, with
> visible
> > hurry banned, the poignant work had to be brought surreptitiously to a
> > convulsive end in a twisted half-sitting position on an uncomfortable
> > little divan. Hugh's mediocre potency might not have survived the ordeal
> > had she concealed from him more completely than she thought she did the
> > excitement derived from the contrast between the fictitious and the
> factual
> > - a contrast which after all has certain claims to artistic subtlety if
we
> > recall the customs of certain Far Eastern people, virtually HALFWITS in
> > many other respects.
> >
> > So perhaps Witt is not strictly a philosophical reference but shares
> > something with Versex?
> >
> >
> >
> > >Dear All,
> > >
> > >"The end of my name and wit" because she has just played with the
ending
> of
> > >the name Patagonia, as Verne does in Les Enfants du Capitaine Grant ("I
> > >could be instantly saved by you. Take the fastest flying machine you
can
> > >rent straight to El Paso, your Ada will be waiting for you there,
waving
> > >like mad, and we'll continue, by the New World Express, in a suite I'll
> > >obtain, to the burning tip of Patagonia, Captain Grant's Horn, a Villa
in
> > >Verna, my jewel, my agony. Send me an aerogram with one Russian
word--the
> > >end of my name and wit"), but she is at her wit's end, because she
hardly
> > >expects her forced wit in the letter to move Van to reply "Da." Her
wit,
> > >therefore, is exhausted.
> > >
> > >Alexey, what would make anyone else "interpret it that way"--that Demon
> and
> > >Ada have been lovers? Don, what are these "hints"? ADA is not reticent
> about
> > >sex, incest, or infidelity, so there would have to be much stronger
clues
> > >than that Demonia's first and last letters spell Ad, or whatever is
> supposed
> > >to constitute the clue.
> > >
> > >Brian Boyd
> > >---------------------------------------------
> > >EDNOTE. Brian, I said "Somewhat Dissuaded." The particular hint I had
in
> mind
> > >was Demon's "too far" farewell kiss after the family dinner at the end
of
> > >I-38.
> > >
> > >-----Original Message-----
> > >From: Donald B. Johnson [mailto:chtodel@gss.ucsb.edu]
> > >Sent: Wednesday, December 15, 2004 7:05 PM
> > >To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
> > >Subject: Fwd: Re: Re: Query: wordplay in Russian
> > >
> > >Dear Tomasz,
> > >
> > >One Russian word - "the end of Ada's name and wit" - is certainly "da"
> > >(yes). Note that "da" also occurs in Ada's second letter where a
sentence
> > >consists of that single word:
> > >
> > >"He [Demon] and I have gamed at Nevada, my rhyme-name town, but you are
> also
> > >there, as well as the legendary river of Old Rus. Da. Oh, write me, one
> tiny
> > >note, I'm trying so hard to please you!"
> > >
> > >Note that "Nevada" is a town, not a State, on Antiterra. But
Antiterra's
> > >other name is DEMONIA. I think that Ada's "da" links Demon, the father
of
> > >Van and Ada, to the planet name Demonia. Note that, while the end of
> Ada's
> > >name is "da," its beginning is "ad" (hell). So, Demonia = Hell.
> > >By saying that "da" is also "the end of her wit," Ada seems to confirm
> > >unWITtingly that she not just "enjoyed going places" with Demon at
> Nevada,
> > >but that he was her lover. At least, I interpret it that way.
> > >Alexey
> > >---------------------------------------------
> > >EDNOTE. I too have toyed with the idea that Demon is among Ada's
lovers.
> > >There are hints. I am somewhat dissuaded by Demon's apparently sincere
> > >distress on discovering Van and Ada's affair. Or is he just jealous?
> > >----------------------------------------------------------
> > >
> > >----- Original Message -----
> > >From: "Donald B. Johnson" <chtodel@gss.ucsb.edu>
> > >To: <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
> > >Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2004 11:17 PM
> > >Subject: Re: Query: wordplay in Russian
> > >
> > >
> > >> Quoting "[Tomasz Cyba]" <tcyba@PRAST.PL>:
> > >>
> > >> > ----------------- Message requiring your approval (15 lines)
> > >> > ------------------
> > >> > In the first chapter of Part II of ADA, Van presents Ada's letters.
> > >> > The fourth one ends with a wordplay, which proved unsolvable for
me.
> > >> >
> > >> > After making a suggestion for Van (she wants him to join her in El
> > >Paso),
> > >> > Ada says: 'Send me an aerogram with one Russian word - the end of
my
> > >name
> > >> > and wit.'
> > >> >
> > >> > What is that 'one Russian word'?
> > >> > Is it simply 'da'?
> > >> > Then why 'wit'?
> > >> >
> > >> > Would somebody help me in my struggle with it?
> > >> >
> > >> > Thanks,
> > >> > Tomasz
> > >> -----------------------------------------------
> > >> EDNOTE. My guess is that the wordplay involves both the DA of Ada and
> > >> the
> > >set
> > >> phrase "at my wits end." both something esle might be involved.
> > >> Do note, however the play on"burning tip" and the ""agonia" of
> > >"PatAGONia."
> > >
> > >----- End forwarded message -----
> > >
> > >----- End forwarded message -----
> >
> > ----- End forwarded message -----
>
> ----- End forwarded message -----
>
>

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