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

Subject
THOUGHTS: Darker thought on Sirin, lighter thought on Disa
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Date
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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"
http://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0601&L=NABOKV-L&P=R123&D=0&H=0&I=-3&O=T&T=0>.
I also found that onee Romansh name of this owl is /tschuetta da
la mort/
<http://www.bsc-eoc.org/avibase/species.jsp?lang=EN&id=E2234D9717D37F38&ts=1197000120662&sec=summary>,
which the Romansh-English dictionary at
<http://www.pledari.ch/mypledari/index.php> 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.

POSTSCRIPT

For another owl, see this post
<http://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A3=ind0704&L=nabokv-l&P=3763270&E=0&B=--%3D__PartBF98C6F2.0__%3D&T=text%2Fhtml>
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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