Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003327, Sat, 22 Aug 1998 16:22:00 -0700

Queries re ADA: 1)art, science and incest 2) anthemion
Your editor begs assistance:

1) I lost my note card and can't find where the word "anthemion" occurs in

2) On p. 436 of ADA (original hardback ed.; Part II, chptr 10) Demon says:
"If I could write,... I would describe, ... how passionately, how
incandescently, how incestuously -- c'est le mot -- art and science meet
in an insect, in a thrush, in a thistle of that ducal bosquet." He goes
onto illustrate how Ada & Lucette have (in the name of scientific
accuracy) noted an error in a Bosch butterfly rendition; he maintains that
the artist was simply amusing himself, "crossbreeding causual fancies,"
i.e. art.

OK, the incestuous insect in the ducal thicket of art&science is easy BUT
what about the thrush? (And the thistle?). Why a THRUSH? If it is just a
matter of a ceature being both a matter of beauty and scientific study,
any bird would have done. VN must have chosen the thrush for some reason.
I don't see it as an incest-related anagram. Or am I missing something?
Nor does the scientific name Turdus (philomelos - if it is the
European Song Thrush)suggest anything (relevant). Nor does
the Russian name Drozd.

Does "thistle" help any?
And I'm not too sure about that "ducal bosquet" either. Ducal?

D. Barton Johnson
Department of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Studies
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University of California at Santa Barbara
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