NABOKV-L post 0019084, Thu, 14 Jan 2010 14:56:24 -0200

Re: Powerful Kramler: Nabokov decoded ...
Gary Lipon: (to JM) "I don't know if you mean to imply only two coinages, but, off the top of my head and for what its worth, I've never been able to find dictionary entries for 1) larvorium...2) stang..."

JM, Post-script: In Portuguese we find "lavario", not "larvorio," since it is derived from the Latin "larva/larvae" with an "a". Larvario indicates a shelter or nest built by the larvae from leaves, grains of the soil and silk-thread.
Nabokov must have certainly known that his coinage should produce "lavarium," so why did he choose the "o"?
I decided to check in English (a Webster's Encyclopedic issue) and found that "larva", in antiquity, indicated malignant ghosts, masks, skeletons (akin to "lares").
Although there's still no explanation for VN's choice of an "o" for his coinage, it here served me to explore further the usual larval word thereby shifting from the familiar entomological acception into this "ghostly" one.
I haven't yet explored these haunting larvae in other dictionaries (I must order new glasses to be able to do that!)

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