NABOKV-L post 0018327, Fri, 15 May 2009 15:07:45 -0300

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[NABOKOV-L] Tangencial Nabokov
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A.Sklyarenko: You are wrong: Luzhin in Dostoevsky comes from luzha, "puddle."
J.Aisenberg: There was a Luzhin in Dostoyevsky; people might likely associate Nabokov's with him...So did you get from Dostoyevsky's journals that he named this character after a puddle? Or, asking as a non-Russian, do you mean that this word is so well understood in that tongue the name functions as a fairly obvious comic allegoric tag?.. Do sounds and definitions of words function in N's fiction to create ultra sophisticated meshes of intertextuality, or do they comment on the immediate action of the plot?...When we delve into Nabokov's puddle will we find it rich in microscopic life or will we come out the other side of one of those kidney shaped spills in Bend Sinister?
S.Diedrich: ...Nabokov complained that in Ulysses Joyce uses the word prone when he means supine... this remark at least shows that Nabokov knew and cared about the difference between the two words.

JM: It's difficult, actually impossible, to find a unifying theory that explains everything in life, in physics, in literature - from the Dostoevsky and Nabokov connections, through a character who might have been named after a puddle, to allegoric tags, intertextual meshes, authorial intentions and "truth" ...

To add a more spice to this stew, here are other loosely related items flowing from Assyrian beards, mysterious smiles, Tanagra Gradus and "fakes" towards...Flora!

(a) How did King Charles' beard look at the time he fled from Zembla? Had he been clean-shaven his followers, disguised in Kinbotean beaver-beards would not have had success in their ploy, red sweaters and all;

(b) Terracotta Tanagra figurines (mentioned by Shade &Kinbote) might represent dainty, BC, "parisian ladies" but they also served as disguises for bawdy Greek comedies: did VN intend to suggest to the readers mind any of these options in Pale Fire?

(c) Fran Assa sent more examples, collected from among his own photographs of Assyrian beards, and he made a comment about their particular smile.
Indeed, those ancient sculptures of mesopotamiam warriors, kouroi, and bearded gods often bore a loopsided smile which - while perusing a book about "Fake? The art of deceit" (edited by Mark Jones,University of California Press,1990) led me to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa smile, actually, in the present case, to a "fake" bust of da Vinci's "original Flora".

I have no idea into what muddle or puddle this will get me into, but I thought Fran's images and two scans from Leonardo's "Flora" might interest the iconographically-minded List members. As is the case with Tanagra figurines, Nabokov's character Flora (about whom I have until now only the vaguest idea) brought to my mind Botticelli's, never da Vinci's ( should we think of either in relation to TOoL ?) - one whose "original" has been attributed to Leonardo (wax bust and painting) but which suffered a strange adulteration in the hands of a restaurator named A.D.Lucas ( Flora's bust is kept in a museum, in Berlin).

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