NABOKV-L post 0023236, Wed, 8 Aug 2012 19:20:19 -0700

Nobody? Nemo? let's call the whole think off!
Always glad to be able to deliver a long-distance tickle, Charles
Whoever-you-may-be (marvelous to discover that you never state your
surname, and not that I had forgotten it). But I must protest our lazy
(and he does know I am teasing here) Mr ED., who refused to post my
imprecations against Viktor Fet and my withdrawal of the words of
loving kindness that I had mistakenly sent in his direction.

Mr. ED.?

p.s. and thank you, too Chas W and so on, for the Hogarth information.
I thought I knew the big Hog man, but I have never seen his nobody,
excuse me, his Nobody - or read the joke - what a treat! I must take
up a collection of these nobody jokes!

oh, and p.p.s. Besides Capt Nemo in Verne's 20,000 .... the name of
the ultimately very important Mr Nobody character in Dickens's Bleak
House, was also Nemo - no wonder I couldnt' recall it!

ppps - if one dares to ppp -- I'm not sure if an angry email from me
went out today, but if it did I forgot to mention that among my small
pantheon of at least sometime defenders I did actually forget to
mention Michael Maar - which I think brings the long list to eight.
The others (as I really doubt he who must be obeyed sent out that
racist, malice-and-spite filled missive) are Alexey, Jansy, Dmitri,
Jerry, Stan, DBJ, oh yes, and Mr ED himself. Yes, that does just make
eight of them.

An octave!

On Aug 8, 2012, at 12:16 PM, Chaswe@AOL.COM wrote:

After deleting 99/100 of the NAB list messages unread for the last 3
or 4 years (I couldn't keep up) I was staggered to open this one by
chance and find myself mentioned in such flattering terms. Really
don't think I mentioned "nikto - b", which would have meant nothing,
not nobody, to me; but I did write as follows:

Re: [NABOKV-L] Botkin or nikto (b?)

Can't resist mentioning that the "Nobody" joke has tickled others.
William Hogarth produced a fairly well-known drawing of Nobody. This
consisted of a man furnished only with head, arms and legs.

Good Lord ! SIX YEARS AGO ! Nobody's memory is better than mine ---
and he runs faster, too.


In a message dated 08/08/2012 16:48:38 GMT Daylight Time, nabokv-l@UTK.EDU

From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] on behalf of
Carolyn Kunin [chaiselongue@ATT.NET] Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2012
9:44 PM
Subject: [NABOKV-L] more from the archives re nikto b'

Found this - have tried to straighten out message from CHW - he was
always an interesting contributor - Charles ... can't recall further,
but his knowledge of things Scandanavian was impressive. V Fet, as
always, is clear as glass, or a bell, or a glass bell, or a bell
curve, or ... stop me before I write a poem or something.


>>>>>CHW also mentioned "nikto b", which the Russian speakers
>>>>>have ruled out. I think. But I'd like to clarify this
>>>>>last detail: if someone asks "Who is Botkin?", is "Nikto
>>>>> b" an absolutely unidiomatic answer?

Yes, it is absolutely unidiomatic combination and has to be ruled out.

If to "Who is Botkin?" one wants to say "nobody", the answer is
"Nikto"; full answer is "Botkin is nobody", or "Botkin - nikto" [the
verb is omitted].

Russian "b" is just an abbreviated particle "by" (like in "Nikto b[y]
ne podumal", "nobody would have thought") but "nikto b" does not have
any independent meaning.

I brought it up but only as a possible palindrome with first name
"Nikto" = "Nikto Botkin" or "Nikto B." (B also being, naturally,
Cyrillic "V" for Vseslav or Vladimir).

There is also a traditional K/Ch interplay between down-to-earth pair
"Nikto" (nobody)/"Nichto" (nothing), versus more elevated poetic
"Nekto" (someone)/"Nechto" (something).

Victor Fet
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