NABOKV-L post 0015797, Fri, 7 Dec 2007 11:27:00 -0500

THOUGHTS: Darker thought on Sirin, lighter thought on Disa
Jerry Katsell's post prompted me to do some searching for owls.
The owl described in Dal' seems to be the Northern Hawk Owl,
/Surnia ulula/, and Penny McCarthy had said that "Hawk Owl" was
among Nabokov's translation for "sirin">.
I also found that onee Romansh name of this owl is /tschuetta da
la mort/
which the Romansh-English dictionary at
<> tells me means
"owl of the dead", as everyone guessed.

I'm not saying that Nabokov knew this--though Switzerland is
where Romansh is spoken--but it does go nicely with
"phoenix", another meaning of /sirin/.

(I knew the day would come when I'd need an on-line
Romansh-English dictionary!)

On the subject of Disa's name, the orchid and butterfly
seem like enough for me. If Dieter's Zimmer's connection
to the queen's sending settlers to Norrland is important,
I suspect it's that imagining her as the "mythical founder"
of Zembla makes her name a good one for a later Zemblan
aristocrat and queen.

Jerry Friedman would love to see a Northern Hawk Owl
some day.


For another owl, see this post
from Matt Roth: Scott, "pale", "fire", "here is a fine old
hurly-house you have found out for an owl to hide himself in at
mid-day," Hamlet and the ghost.

Jerry Friedman promises to stop.

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