----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 10:52 AM
Subject: A Northern Crown

The Corona Borealis is an interesting constellation with possible Pale Fire links. Like Ursa Major it is a constellation of 7 stars. It is of course a crown of Jewels (i.e. stars) and the centerpiece is the star Gemma (jewel), and it is a northern constellation.

The mythology behind it has to do with Andromeda/Ariadne, a woman scorned by Theseus, who survives to form a successful alliance with, of all Gods, Dionyssus.

The constellation has an unusual star, sometimes referred to as a Blaze Star, which every 500 years or so flares up very brightly. The next blaze is predicted for the 2020s. It is in the Sherlock Holmes story about a horse named Blaze that Holmes uses the famous clue of the quiet dog to solve the crime. It may be the kind of star (stella nova) followed by the Three Magi (aka the Three Astrologers) in the bible. There is also, by a stroke of luck, a horseshoe in the Holmes story.

I must credit H.P. Lovecraft's story "Hypnos" for making me think seriously about the Corona Borealis. The story (1923) is about a man who meets his double and forms a close association with him. Before the double dies, or disappears, he shows great fear of the constellation Corona Borealis.