NABOKV-L post 0019410, Sun, 14 Feb 2010 15:48:22 -0200

A.Sklyarenko: Speaking of torf, "peat," Mikhail Prishvin (an agronomist who became a writer, mainly of children's books, 1873-1954) is the author of a series of essays, entitled "Torf," about peat-digging. Besides, one of Prishvin's best-known books is Kladovaya solntsa ("The Sun's Pantry," 1945), about Russian peat bogs...Like Golovin, the name Prishvin ends in -vin. torf = fort (cf. Californian Fort Ross, mentioned in Ada: 2.8) = ftor ("fluorine;" the Russian word comes from Greek phtoros, "decay") = Trofim - im (im is a Russian personal pronoun that means "by him" and "[to] them").

JM: Whenever I re-read Nabokov something unexpected catches my attention, which had slipped by until then.
Why did Van Veen's raised legs resemble "tarantine sails"? ( A quick search, too quick, revealed that Mediterranean aggressors, mostly Arabs at that time, only sailed when the weather was extremely windy, whereas the experienced Greeks only attacked in times of fair weather.. This might explain a pair of furled sails, who knows? I must polish up my studies of H.S world history, Pyrrus, punic wars and such).

Yesterday I wondered why did Ada stress that their great-grandmother, on the maternal side, was common to Van, Lucette and she. Their great-great grandmother, Princess Sofia Temnosiniy, was even more encompassing, she originated (with exogamous help and branchings) their fathers and their mothers, no? ( if I read the items in the sur-royally antlered Zemsky family tree correctly*).
Would Ada's words serve to indicate their nationality and, chiefly, their language? The Zemskys, their common-root, were Russians. Darya (Dolly) Durmanov was born in Bras d'Or and her ascendants were Irish and English. The tesselation is wide but the matrix is Russian.

Sklyarenko emphasizes the Russian Zemsky/Temnosiniy alliance in ADA, whereas I can only blunder along some of the anglo-influenced insertions. I hope we will arrive at a nice composite image of the Anglo-Russian novel.
I'm puzzled about the French (oft quoted, including in "La Tourbiere" and "Centrillon.") and the German or Dutch (Erasmus Veen?) link.

Turfa/Torf/Peat is formed by decomposing organic residues. There "phtoros" (decay, following A.S. information) produce emissions of phosphorescent gases. The dracunculi/rankle association, add the idea of festering wounded flesh.

QUERY: When Van enthusses about the "dark blue" association in his velvety family tree, I couldn't discern if he meant the Zemski-lineage or something related to his own name, Ivan. The semi-precious "aqua marine" is, more often than not, light blue. Are Van's "mother's" names related to this "dark blue" reference?

* - My glance was only cursory, therefore addenda and corrections are welcome.

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