NABOKV-L post 0018243, Sat, 25 Apr 2009 11:49:13 -0300

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[NABOKOV-L] Linguistic and Psewudo-Entomological issues
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A few days ago I received a paragraph containing "Britannica" data, on "nymphaeum", vaguely related to Lolita and butterflies.
Surprisingly enough there is something in it that I found interesting to pass on to the List. Not because of Lolita's nymphetage, but due to Pale Fire and three items in ADA:
1.Eric Veen's Villa Venus;
2.various loci - and paintings- with "grottoes" in Ardis;
3. an ambiguous exchange with Uncle Dan.

In Pale Fire there is a grotto close to the indication "Here papa pisses" (originally presented in Lolita with bike and an artificial (soda)fountain), which receives an echo in CK's commentary, linking a grotto to a marking: "The King was Here".

Here is the original information on Nymphaeum:
Ancient Greco-Roman sanctuary consecrated to water nymphs. The name-though originally denoting a natural grotto with springs and streams, traditionally considered the habitat of nymphs-later referred to an artificial grotto or a building filled with plants and flowers, sculpture, fountains, and paintings.
The nymphaeum served as a sanctuary, a reservoir, and an assembly chamber where weddings were held. The rotunda nymphaeum, common in the Roman period, was borrowed from such Hellenistic structures as the Great Nymphaeum of Ephesus.
Nymphaea existed at Corinth, Antioch, and Constantinople (now Istanbul); the remains of about 20 have been found in Rome; and others exist as ruins in Asia Minor, Syria, and North Africa.
The word nymphaeum was also used in ancient Rome to refer to a bordello and also to the fountain in the atrium of the Christian basilica.

Here, the fountainy connections:
ADA:
1.In Ardis Hall there is a loggia that opens into a bower of rocks, "a sham grotto" with "shameless" ferns, a cascade and Van's "burning bladder" ( piss &fountain);

2.There is a canvas with nude boy and girl in a "vined grotto" or (sic) close to a waterfall of water and emerald leaves;

3.I also found a mention to "the colutea circle, an avenue, the grotto's black O, and the hill, and the big chain around the trunk of the rare oak, Quercus ruslan Chat." ( Hi, Sklyarenko!!!! Hi Pushkin's chatty concatenation going from PF into ADA!!!!!!);

4. Uncle Dan, while he is reading art catalogues and about oysters, tries to find out the the meaning of "groote" in a wordbook: "The simplicity of its meaning annoyed him." (in Darkbloom's notes, p.59, "groote" means "great" in Dutch)

PALE FIRE:
(a) In one of their walks, Kinbote and Shade pass through Dulwich Forest and reach a natural grotto. A gardener's little boy once told them that "Here Papa pisses";
(b) When Gradus travels in quest for King Charles he visits Lavender's Villa and meets Gordon. Strolling with the boy he passes through a Grotto with a small fountain and, close by, a privy close to a poplar, with a "throne" and a grafitti on its door: "The King was Here".

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