NABOKV-L post 0008626, Mon, 22 Sep 2003 12:42:19 -0700

Subject
ADA's "driblets"
Date
Body
----- Original Message -----
From: <nitrogen14@australia.edu>
>
> ---------------- Message requiring your approval (112
lines) ------------------

> I would say, with respect to BB, that I don't think
> Lucette is making a pun here; rather, that she and Van
> are talking at cross purposes, and she has misheard
> his one-word utterance
>
> this is a fairly standard humorous technique, eg used
> by Joyce in ULYSSES, in the incident by which the man in
> the 'mackintosh' gets mistaken for a man by the name of
> Mackintosh
>
> for another example of nabokovian triple-(word)play,
> see the passage in ADA in which the mother says that
> she likens herself to famous women of history, then
> points out to Van that there's a 'ladybird' on his
> plate; a reference to the First Lady of the mid-1960's
>
> upon careful reading, or simply reading, the ladybird
> turns out, not to be an insect on the plate (in the way
> we think) but an insect depicted as part of the plate's
> design
>
> I must add, though, that I find this passage more 'clever'
> than artistic; I was tempted earlier to include it as a
> potential example of (relatively-pointless) virtuosity
>
> >EDNOTE. This is an excellent example of how multilayered VN usages can
be.
> >----- Original Message -----
> >From: "Brian Boyd (FOA ENG)" <b.boyd@auckland.ac.nz>
> >To: <chtodel@cox.net>
> >Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2003 4:15 PM
> >Subject: reply to: triple viol
> >
> >
> >> BB:
> >> "I meant the real Tapper," cried Lucette (who was making a complete
mess
> >of
> >> her visit), "not my poor, betrayed, poisoned, innocent teacher of
music,
> >> whom not even Ada, unless she fibs, could cure of his impotence."
> >> "Driblets," said Van.
> >> "Not necessarily his," said Lucette. "His wife's lover played
> the
> >> triple viol."
> >>
> >> "Triple viol" here puns on "treble viol" and "double bass": as if the
> >> "treble" referred to number as well as pitch; "bass viol" is another
> name,
> >> considered erroneous by W2, for "double bass."
> >>
> >> And therefore, indeed, the implication is that Rack can be impotent
even
> >> though his wife has given birth to triplets, if we posit (and Lucette
> >surely
> >> invents rather than recollects-but who knows?) a lover for his wife,
who
> >in
> >> this musical love triangle, and as the father of triplets, can be
> imagined
> >> playing the "triple viol."
> >>
> >> Notice that Van's "driblets," which echoes Rack's wife's German
doctor's
> >> prediction that she "would present him with driplets in dry weeks"
> (I.32),
> >> where a German voiced sound supplants the English unvoiced (driplets
for
> >> triplets, drei for three), takes the voicing even further, turning
> >driplets
> >> into driblets. This now serves as in ironic sneer underlying Rack's
> >> impotence (ejaculating reduced to driblets) at the same time as Van
> calls
> >> the alleged impotence into question through the potential
> counter-evidence
> >> of the triplets.
> >>
> >> Lucette's "triple viol" then jumps the other way, from voiced sound to
> >> unvoiced, from "treble viol" to "triple viol."
> >>
> >> There may also be an overtone in "viol," perhaps an octave above, of
> >"vile";
> >> and perhaps a secondary overtone, still higher and fainter, on the
> >homonymy
> >> of "vile" and the "base" hompohone of "bass." The homonymy is one that
> >> Shakespeare, who loved doublets (but not triplets), made the most of:
> >> "Things base and vile, holding no quantity, Love can transpose to form
> and
> >> dignity" (MND 1.1.232-33), or, more flatly, in the early TGV 4.1.71:
"we
> >> detest such vile base practices."
> >>
> >> Even without the overtones, not a bad off-the-Nabocuff pun for poor L.
> >>
> >> EDNOTE. My assumption is that it refers, as you suggest, to the
triplets
> >she
> >> is carrying. Other ideas?
> >> ----- Original Message -----
> >> From: Yannickec@aol.com
> >> To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
> >> Sent: Friday, September 19, 2003 12:52 AM
> >> Subject: Triple viol
> >>
> >> 'His wife's lover played the triple viol'. (Ada, II, 5, p 301).
> >> Does anyone have a suggestion for what Lucette means by "triple viol"?
> >Ada,
> >> II, 5 (p301 in Penguin Ed).
> >> The viol is probably here the short name for the viola da gamba? in
> that
> >> family, there can be a "double bass", which is a bigger bass viol. But
> >what
> >> is a triple viol? Is it a pun with the "driblets" that comes before?
Can
> >> somebody explain?
> >> thank you,
> >> yannicke chupin
> >>
> >
>
>
>