Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002520, Wed, 29 Oct 1997 08:28:46 -0800

Re: nature and fusion (fwd)
EDITOR's NOTE. I would add to Bob Cook's note that VN does tinker with the
(Swiss lake "Leman" = lover in, I think, ADA.
From: Robert Cook <rcook@rhi.hi.is>

>And then, speaking of hearts and pains, I have a question. Is there
>actually such a thing as Lehmann's disease? If it is Nabokov's coinage,
>what does it refer to? Hermann Lehmann, a blood specialist lecturing in
>Cambridge in 1936? To Lake Leman?? Or to the unidentified victim of some
>private joke?
I'm coming in the dark here, since I haven't picked up where Lehmann's
disease is mentioned in Nabokov's oeuvre. (Please inform me.) But the
medical uncertainty suggested above, and the suggested play on Lac Leman,
make me think of another possibility: the common Middle English noun
"lemman / leman", going back to the Old English leofman, dear person, i.e.
a sweetheart or darling, of either sex. The Lehmann's (lemman's) disease
would then be a lover's disease,perhaps Chaucer's "lover's maladye" Ð the
mental and physical derangement that comes from being in love. Would this,
or perhaps a more mundane form of lover's disease, fit the context?
Robert Cook