NABOKV-L post 0015529, Tue, 2 Oct 2007 16:05:54 -0300

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Re: THOUGHTS: Hazel Shade & Catskin/Catkins
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While I was checking the "incest theme" link bt. "Pale Fire" and "Transparent Things" and forgot to underline Hugh's reference to his French Canadian mother (TT) to point out Shade's and Sybil's ancestors(PF):

PALE FIRE, Line 247: John Shade's wife, née Irondell (which comes not from a little valley yielding iron ore but from the French for "swallow"). She was a few months his senior. I understand she came of Canadian stock, as did Shade's maternal grandmother (a first cousin of Sybil's grandfather, if I am not greatly mistaken).

TRANSPARENT THINGS: 1. He had retained the hotel's name, Locquet, because it resembled the maiden name of his mother, a French Canadian, whom Person Senior was to survive by less than a year. He also remembered that it was drab and cheap, and abjectly stood next to another, much better hotel, through the rez-de-chaussee windows of which you could make out the phantoms of pale tables and underwater waiters.

2....have never been able to get rid of my mother's Canadian accent, though I hear it clearly when I whisper French words. Ouvre ta robe, Déjanire that I may mount sur mon bucher ( poor burning Hugh...)

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B.Boyd wrote on "hazel roots":It is the Palearctic Toothwort, plants of the genus Lathraea, and not the quite unrelated North American Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata, syn. Dentaria lacinata) which parasitizes hazel roots. As Shade and Nabokov would know, the rather local Toothwort White butterfly could not feed on the flowers of this European family without crossing the Atlantic.
Jerry Friedman observed: "That's a different Toothwort... Those plants are found around the world.The parasitic toothworts, found only in temperate Eurasia, are members of the genus /Lathraea/ in the broomrape (that word!) family. Also, the Common Toothwort parasitize the alder as well as the hazel. Maybe some reference to the European-versus-American-names theme, though".
Probably my observation below is way off the mark but... since I'd been reading through various other paragraphs of Pale Fire and came across a complicated reference (in this respect I'm like Kinbote) to various "obtained" flowers, insects and birds from "Canada to Austral regions", - that ends mentioning "atlantis" - I decided to quote it here for it reminded me of Jerry's: "Maybe some reference to the European-versus-American-names theme, though" and Boyd's "As Shade and Nabokov would know, the rather local Toothwort White butterfly could not feed on the flowers of this European family without crossing the Atlantic."



PALE FIRE : "During our sunset rambles, ... my friend had a rather coquettish way of pointing out with the tip of his cane various curious natural objects. He never tired of illustrating by means of these examples the extraordinary blend of Canadian Zone and Austral Zone that "obtained," as he put it, in that particular spot of Appalachia where at our altitude of about 1,500 feet northern species of birds, insects and plants commingled with southern representatives. As most literary celebrities, Shade did not seem to realize that a humble admirer who has cornered at last and has at last to himself the inaccessible man of genius, is considerably more interested in discussing with him literature and life than in being told that the "diana" (presumably a flower) occurs in New Wye together with the "atlantis" (presumably another flower), and things of that sort."

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