NABOKV-L post 0018381, Fri, 12 Jun 2009 20:18:57 -0300

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Fw: [NABOKV-L] "Nabokov's Code",
wa s made especially for the Nabo kov Museum ...
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Powelstock: Something has gone hilariously wrong in translation here, it seems. "To the Mountains from the Mind," [...] "Gore ot uma," [...] means "woe from the mind," [...] I would be tempted to translate it as "The Misfortune of Intelligence." The error occurs because the nominative singular of 'woe' and the dative singular of mountain ('gora') are both spelled 'gore.' VN would have been amused, I think.



JM: mountain and woe ("gore")!

How about "fountain" in Russian: is there any other hidden sense that might link it to an emotion or object?

I've always found Kinbote's note about the untranslatability of the pair mountain/fountain into other languages (it's possible in Italian, in Portuguese...) misleadingly emphatic*.





* - Line 803: a misprint - Translators of Shade's poem are bound to have trouble with the transformation, at one stroke, of "mountain" into "fountain": it cannot be rendered in French or German, or Russian, or Zemblan; so the translator will have to put it into one of those footnotes that are the rogue's galleries of words...



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