Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0022010, Mon, 19 Sep 2011 13:12:52 +0300

Re: ha-ha
JM: Perhaps in this instance Nabokov didn't have "The Golden Calf" in mind? (it's almost impossible to check that...)

It is possible: see my article "Van Veen or Ivan Golovin: What is the Real Name of Ada's Protagonist?" (http://www.topos.ru/article/7076, text in Russian).

"The ha-ha of a doubled ocean" is mentioned in the chapter of Ada (1.3) in which Van tells about mad Aqua (Marina's twin sister). In the chapter "Jahrbuch fuer Psychoanalytik" of the Ilf and Petrov novel the action takes place in a mad house.* The mad geographer's cry "Na volyu v pampasy!" is echoed by Nabokov in his poem "To Prince S. M. Kachurin"** (1947):

v pampasy molodosti vol'noy,
v tekhasy, naydennye mnoy.

*in Chernomorsk (Chernomor, who beheaded his brother Golova, is an evil sorcerer in Pushkin's "Ruslan and Lyudmila")
**this poem is important in Ada (see my "Ada as a Triple Dream").

Alexey Sklyarenko

----- Original Message -----
From: Jansy
Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2011 9:01 AM
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] ha-ha

A. Sklyarenko: As I pointed out in several articles (Russian and English), "the ha-ha of a doubled ocean" hints at the absence of the Bering Strait on a globe which drove mad the geography teacher in Ilf and Petrov's "The Golden Calf" (chapter XVI: "Jahrbuch fuer Psychoanalytik").

JM: Nabokov, in ADA, showed a great interest in navigatory matters (related to the importance of the Bering Strait) and to others concerning Russian Arctic fur traders.
There are also references to the antipodal Capitain Horn, Verne, Magellan and Lisianski (a circumnavigator, if memory serves me right). Perhaps in this instance Nabokov didn't have "The Golden Calf" in mind? (it's almost impossible to check that...)

btw:When I quoted Boyd's example about the "ha-ha," I was referring to the religious insight of the "ah-ha"
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