NABOKV-L post 0019303, Mon, 1 Feb 2010 23:14:02 -0200

[ NABOKOV-L] Ada, Artemisia and Lucette's suicide ("dracunculus")
"somebody had said that triplets and heraldic dracunculi often occurred in trilingual families..."

From former postings J.Friedman brought up "Artemisia/Ada" following Victor Fet's information about the "dracunculus" (botanical and zoological).

For the historical data extracted from Wiki: Ada was sister and wife of Idrieus, daughter of Hecatomnus, the founder of the Hecatomnid dynasty of satraps of Caria. Her oldest brother Maussolus was married to her sister Artemisia. Endogamic marriages were common among the royalty. In "Ada, or Ardor" brother and sister incestuous marriages were forbidden by Demon.

As for the herbs, there are:
(a) Artemisia dracunculus L. (Tarragon or dragon's-wort);
(b) "Artemisia tridentata" (sage brush);
(c) "Common Mugwort Artemisia Vulgaris, L. Felon-herb, Sailor's Tobacco*."

Apparently, it is the Common Artemisia that is related to Ada's sister, Lucette - by the reference to a common sailor and the Tobakoff, contrary to an expected direct link with the "Artemisia dracunculus/dragon's-wort" :

(a) " is it true that a sailor in Tobakoff's day was not taught to swim so he wouldn't die a nervous wreck if the ship went down?' 'A common sailor, perhaps,' said Van. 'When michman Tobakoff himself got shipwrecked off Gavaille, he swam around...

(b) Lucette, jumping into the sea from the "Admiral Tobakoff" ship "did not see her whole life flash before her as we all were afraid she might have done...the myosotes of an unanalyzable brook...she swam like a dilettante Tobakoff in a circle of brief panic and merciful torpor"**.

How does the "Artemisia dracunculus" relate to the "heraldic dracunculi", or to the "tripartite" Artemisia? Should we refrain to the zoological "dracunculus" and the caduceus?

Aren't we being misled by Artemisia/Ada to be drawn away from the much simpler link: "dracunculus/draoncle/festering wound"?

* - My schematic classification may be imprecise by the lack of more precise data, information which might be obtainable from Ada's book on herbs, ie: Ada E. Georgia in "A Manual Of Weeds", with "descriptions of all of the most pernicious and troublesome plants in the United States And Canada, their habits of growth and distribution, with methods of control: With 385 Illustrations By F. Schuyler Mathews Author Of "Field Book Of American Wild Flowers'." (The Macmillan Company,1914) Ada E. Georgia was Assistant In The Farm Course, New York State College Of Agriculture, Cornell University.

** -Tobakoff appears in connection to "Jean Nicot...after whom the Tobago Islands, or the Tobakoff Islands, are named..." ("Nicotin", not Nikulin, and also "Trinidad," come to my mind). According to Demon (quoted by Van) Andrew Vinelander "worked together with young Tobak in the same Phoenix bank...Backbay Tobakovich!'..."

This thread is complicated by certain musings, by Demon Veen, concerning the death of Lucette's father, Dan, this time connected to "rabbits":
Demon's "poor cousin Dan has died an odd Boschean death. He thought a fantastic rodent sort of rode him out of the house. They found him too late, he expired in Nikulin's clinic." Dr. Nikulin is the grandson of "the great rodentiologist Kunikulinov - we can't get rid of the lettuce". However rabbits aren't rodents (they are "lagomorphs," - that's Wiki again!) as Van seems to think, as they appear in his Uncle Dan's dream and are confirmed by Demon's association of rodents to G.Bosch's "Garden of Delights." (Cf. Vivian Darkbloom on a Latin 'cuniculus' in 'Nikulin' , p.341).

And, as Demon goes on, "how incestuously - c'est le mot - art and science meet in an insect, in a thrush, in a thistle of that ducal bosquet. Ada ...and dear Lucette, once drew my attention, by a creepy coincidence, to certain details of that other triptych..., circa 1500, and, namely, to the butterflies in it ...two admirable little girls...say that actually the wrong side of the bug is shown...I don't give a hoot for the esoteric meaning, for the myth behind the moth, for the masterpiece-baiter who makes Bosch express some bosh of his time, I'm allergic to allegory and am quite sure he was just enjoying himself by crossbreeding casual fancies just for the fun of the contour and color.." Here Demon's words seem to point towards "another" triptych, unrelated to Bosch while he derides the "myth behind the moth." Which triptych? The "admirable girls" seem to indicate "Pale Fire's," a title that has already been mentioned for a "Tom Cox" painting inside the cabin that belongs to Cordula Tobacco ( Madame Perwitsky) in the "Admiral Tobakoff."

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