Jansy Mello: Contemporary portends, and particular events in my surroundings, may be influencing my interpretation of VN's reference to "burning barns" in "Ada" and in "Spring in Fialta" [ ..."my aunt's on her country estate, near Luga, in the deepest folds of winter (how well I remember the first sign of nearing the place: a red barn in a white wilderness). [   ] I cannot recall why we had all wandered out of the sonorous hall into the still darkness, peopled only with firs, snow-swollen to twice their size; did the watchmen invite us to look at a sullen red glow in the sky, portent of nearing arson? Possibly."] because one of those engaged in translating his works to Portuguese chose the word "paiol" instead of "celeiro" for "barn."  In his short-story, written in Berlin in 1936, Nabokov seems to be indirectly reacting to the catastrophic mood surrounding German's "Summer Olympics," and so much more...His way of handling V's loss (Nina's common mortality confirmed) creates, in a way, an alienatory mood related to romantic love and natural landscapes but, of course, V's first meeting with Nina (1917) and his last (about 1936?), or his rendering of a divided world is also present (old and new Fialta, the "Riviera part" of the town, torn posters, his choice of naming the town "Fialta", etc).


Now another word caught my attention. "Barn/Paiol" having pulled me out of more romantic matters, a sullen red sky's association to "arson" led me in a search for common linguistic elements between it and "arsenal" ( arsenal and paiol, in Portuguese, are materialy connected). There are none. Funny superficial links, sonorous suggestions, connect arson/baernet in the same way that they also approached arson/arsenal in my mind. Nabokov's wordgames often disconsidered etymological determinants and this is why I chose to submit these the two entries (arson and arsenal) to the VN-L.

arsenal - armory, firepower.

etymologically: arsenal (n.) Look up arsenal at Dictionary.com

c. 1500, "dockyard, dock with naval stores," from Italian arzenale, from Arabic dar as-sina'ah "workshop," literally "house of manufacture," from dar"house" + sina'ah "art, craft, skill," from sana'a "he made." 

Applied by the Venetians to a large wharf in their city, which was the earliest reference of the English word. Sense of "public place for making or storing weapons and ammunition" is from 1570s. The London football club (1886) was named for the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, where the original players worked.



arson (n.) Look up arson at Dictionary.com

1670s, from Anglo-French arsoun (late 13c.), Old French arsion, from Late Latin arsionem (nominative arsio) "a burning," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin ardere "to burn," from PIE root *as- "to burn, glow" (see ash (n.1)). The Old English term was bćrnet, literally "burning;" and Coke has indictment of burning (1640).



That's it.




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