NABOKV-L post 0019420, Tue, 16 Feb 2010 02:02:45 -0200

Re: Dark blue
Alexey Sklyarenko:.."a direct descendant of the Yaroslav rulers of pre-Tartar times, had a millennium-old name that meant in Russian 'dark blue.'" Yaroslav = slovarya ("of dictionary"). A reader of Nabokov should consult not only Wikipedia, but also a good dictionary. Vivian Darkbloom's advice.

JM: Anagrams are a dangerous thing because one may scrabble away, endlessly. The "yaroslav/slovaraya" find, though, is truly wonderful since it is not too distant from something that's been indicated in the same paragraph, namely that, although Proust informs his fairy-tale readers that the Duchess of Guermantes is "real," they should know better. Just like the other, more discriminating ones, must deduce that Van's Yaroslav rulers are ... a dictionary thing. Sklyarenko's prowess have been attested by B.Boyd, in the same, recently quoted Nab-L posting, from 2002: "I keep updating my files of ADA annotations, not least because of Alexey's finds, and in support of his defense of the brilliance of Nabokov's verbal play..."

Hopefuly, there are many other ways to enjoy VN's brilliance. Sometimes even Nabokov offers a hint: there are a couple of dejected indications in Bend Sinister's foreword, there are Kinbote's or Darkbloom's notes and index or, as it happens in RLSK, some seemingly desultory explanations, such as the one about the Dean's sudden appearance at the window, an item from duly identified Jerome K. Jerome paragraph, Chekhov's fata morgana black monk. Only the more familiar instance of leg-pulling will not demand a subreptitious purple reference:"Sebastian speaking of his very first novel (unpublished and destroyed) explained that it was about a fat young student who travels home to find his mother married to his uncle; this uncle, an ear-specialist, had murdered the student's father.Mr Goodman misses the joke." Inspite of all the help I still find myself in a role similar to Mr. Goodman's (the Russian version)...

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