NABOKV-L post 0019114, Sun, 17 Jan 2010 10:12:50 -0200

Re: Fw: [NABOKV-L] Powerful Kramler: Nabokov decoded ...
Re: [NABOKV-L] Fw: [NABOKV-L] Powerful Kramler: Nabokov decoded ... Stan Kelly-Bootle: Professor Boyd: many thanks for the perfectly valid point about what VN meant by "stang." And for repeating the excellent advice: Always consult VN's pet W2 (Webster II) first. That can often curtail much idle speculation, source- & soul-searching, and VN-mind-reading. ..In spite of many chatty cross-reference and usage guides, I don't see a link from rail to the synonym stang! Neither does the W2 stang entry link to rail. My initial hunch of dialectal links with sting/stung is confirmed
Stang, v. i. [Akin to sting; cf. Icel. stanga to prick, to goad.] To shoot with pain. [Prov. Eng.]
More research needed on other W2 entries that might link to stang = rail.

JM: After your curtailing railing and many post-prandial soul-searching on my part, I selected one of the examples, extracted from Robert Burns, from the list sent by Jim Twiggs. It confirms your stinging intention:

"But for how lang the flie may stang," - The Complete Works of Robert Burns: Containing his Poems, Songs, and Correspondence. With a New Life of the Poet, and Notices, Critical and Biographical by Allan Cunningham

I hope Nabokov didn't pronounce the word with a sound similar to "jungle" (as it appears in the next verse).

On the whole, my vote goes to a reference that encompasses Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels". We can even measure the height of the woods surrounding poor Hazel:
These fields were intermingled with woods of half a stang, {1} and the tallest trees, as I could judge, appeared to be seven feet high. - Gulliver's Travels
A stang is a pole or perch; sixteen feet and a half. - Gulliver's Travels (footnote)

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