NABOKV-L post 0019127, Sun, 17 Jan 2010 22:29:48 -0200

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Re: Fw: [NABOKV-L] Powerful Kramler: Nabokov decoded ...]
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I:
...how did VN come to find stang...
Victor Fet: From his goalkeeping youth. So far nobody noticed that there is a RUSSIAN "shtanga" (derived from 'der Stange'), which, among a number of exotic terms (such as barbell) means a goalpost - or any metal post (either vertical or horizontal).The term appears, for example, in "Drugie berega" (12.3) in football context ("prislonivshis k levoi shtange vorot"); the same in "Speak, memory" (13.4): ("leant my back against the left goalpost").When the football hits it, the Russian soccer fans scream: "SHTANGA!!"

JM: Shtanga!!!! to Victor Fet (but, of course, it all depends from whose side one is cheering? Soccer fans also yell "na trave" in a dejected mood since the goalie hasn't made any outstanding catch, nor did the attacking ball enter the goal.
This stangy word, in Russian, led me back to Pale Fire, again indirectly, by its illustrious translator Conmal and its original architectonic term in Greek*.

From note to line 962, by Kinbote: "One callous Academician who did, lost his seat in result and was severely reprimanded by Conmal in an extraordinary sonnet composed directly in colorful, if not quite correct, English, beginning:
I am not slave! Let be my critic slave.

I cannot be. And Shakespeare would not want thus.

Let drawing students copy the acanthus,

I work with Master on the architrave!"

Gary Lipon: "I think this pretty much puts the issue to rest.Grateful, Hazel let go of the stang."


II.
Gary Lipon:..."Pale Fire, the poem is an ironic piece, but the feelings of pathos and tragedy bleed through the irony...To me this remarkable feel for rhythm within the confines of the heroic couplet, distinguishes Shade/Nabokov as great poet: a fine sense of rhythm that is used to lead into, set up, and close, the short episodes... humor is reinforced by the extra emphasis imparted by the spondaic rhythm of the last three words...But the very act of writing a thousand line narrative poem in an age old form is daring. Shade/VN risks a lot on that ground alone, and it's to be expected that many modern readers should find PF, the poem, ineffectual by reason of antique form alone,a quaint anachronism...there is a balancing going on through out all of Pale Fire, the poem, between irony and parody on one side and pathos and authentic emotion on the other...
John Morris: "Opinions understandably differ about whether Shade is a lousy poet, but it seems clear to me that VN did not present him as such...Furthermore, the fact that he offered long excerpts from the poem at public readings, to which his audience responded with evident and unironic enjoyment, also argues for VN's faith in the poem's merits... See my article "Genius and Plausibility: Suspension of Disbelief in Pale Fire" on the Zembla website."
A.Bouazza: I like to think that, as has been pointed out before, the feel of steel the word evokes (cold and hard) may have been decisive for VN; furthermore, on a cold night a stang will sting the hand more...PF contains a striking amount of dialect words, chiefly Scottish ones. The line preceding the one containing the word in quiestion has "Lochanhead", lochan is a diminutive of the Scottish loch, and lochan means pond. There is a defamiliarization at play here on a verbal level similar to the existential one experienced by Hazel.


JM: Gary Lipon's description of John Shade's achievements touched a chord in my heart for the first time. Until then I was mainly annoyed at the self-centered, provincial poet, jumping straight from New Wye onto the whirling stars, with no Haiti or Afghanistan lying in between because I'd been considering Shade following Kinbote's point of view, only - and he was such an ambivalent, idealizingly unfair admirer...
I still don't consider Shade to be a great poet, not even in fiction ("the greatest", according to VN), but the debate has lighted a fresh path for me. A.Bouazza's comments on "stang" describing its effect of "defamiliarization...on a verbal level similar to the existential one experienced by Hazel,"expresses much about the novel as a whole, its shifting perspectives and the habitual alternation btw parody and pathos.

btw: A.Sklyarenko's "Beaver...Castor-Castro...tyrants", seen from VN's angle is a plausible alusion but, as a political rendering of King Charles, the Beloved, it may be a little incongruous.










*- The architrave (from Italian: architrave, also called an epistyle from Greek epistylo or door frame) is a moulded or ornamental band framing a rectangular opening. It is the lintel or beam that rests on the capitals of the columns. As such, it is the lowest part of the entablature consisting of architrave, frieze and cornice. The word is derived from the Greek and Latin words arche and trabs combined together to mean "main beam". They are mainly used in churches and cathedrals, and other religious buildings. They can also be seen in modern houses.The architrave is different in the different orders. In the Tuscan, it only consists of a plain face, crowned with a fillet, and is half a module in height. In the Doric and composite, it has two faces, or fasciae; and three in the Ionic and Corinthian, in which it is 10/12 of a module high, though but half a module in the rest. The word architrave is also used to refer more generally to the mouldings (or other elements) framing a door, window or other rectangular opening .


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