Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001369, Fri, 25 Oct 1996 12:13:10 -0700

Re: Three questions (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 1996 20:46:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Eric Geissinger <elgeissinger@ucdavis.edu>
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@UCSBVM.UCSB.EDU>
Subject: Re: Three questions (fwd)

On Thu, 24 Oct 1996, Donald Barton Johnson wrote:

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: 22 Oct 96 20:47:27 EDT
> From: Vitaly Kupisk <104361.1700@CompuServe.COM>
> Dear Nabokovians,
> Can anyone help me with the following questions:
> 1. On line 370 of "Pale Fire" Hazel asks, "Mother , what's 'grimpen'?". While
> "chtonic" and "sempiternal" are easily looked up, I haven't been able to find
> "grimpen" in OED, Webster 2, or Webster 3 (unless it's a form of "grimp"), so I
> am puzzled as to what Sybil's "guarded scholium" could have been. And what is
> that poem Hazel is reading, after all? I think THAT's an engaging and
> compelling question...

Dr. Renaker, at San Francisco State University, had an
undergraduate student once that (according to his story) was reading,
somewhat overlapping, "Pale Fire" and "The Wasteland." This student
quite casually in class one day said that within one week he/she was
forced to look up in a dictionary the same three difficult words -- in the
same order! Obviously (following this brilliant hint) the
not-so-impressive poem Nabokov was poking fun at was "The Wasteland,"
where these three words do indeed appear in strict sequence. Lovely
touch, I think.
And no, unfortunately, the anonymous student was not myself.