NABOKV-L post 0008919, Sun, 16 Nov 2003 10:25:10 -0800

Fw: more inconclusive kickshaws
more inconclusive kickshawsEDNOTE. The "Yolande Kickshaw" mystery thickens--thanks to the efforts of the assiduous. The Anglo-French choses in Cambridge (UK) and Harvard-in-Cambridge, Mass shoes (Zapater) and "kickshaws/kickshoes" parallels are intriguing. Also note "old Paar of CHose" now becomes "old pair of shoes." Maybe Peter Lubin's essay "Kickshaws and Motley" which was written at Harvard has some clues. And the tribade angle is certainly relevant. I doubt the Sargent portrait of Violet leads anywhere BUT I find that Gauguin's "Are You Jealous" pictures of two Tahitian women is indexed under "Lesbian" Aha oe Feii? (Are You Jealous?), 1892 (oil on canvas). I suggest someone run down the "backstory" on this Gauguin painting. A library job. Nothing on the web except the picture. VN does seem to attach significance to the name "Violet" from early on in his work.

----- Original Message -----
From: Carolyn Kunin
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2003 9:17 AM
Subject: more inconclusive kickshaws

Dear Mrs Etsy,

The theme in relation to Yolande/ Violet Knox ( Nox?) is, of course, Ada´s bisexuality and there are often references not only to Cinderella´s lost slipper ( it is usually the "ashette" maid, Blanche, that leaves her slippers all over the novel while carrying candles... ) but her " Glass" shoes.
In Brazil lesbians are referred to as " sapatão" ( big shoe ) . Do you know any English, or French expression linking shoes, big feet and lesbianism? Those might give suport to your "kickshoe" idea. Or, perhaps, lead us to investigate that omnipresent Blanche shadow ?

Dmitri's knowledge of French slang surpasses mine, so maybe he can tell us if " sapatão" has a French equivalent.

I haven't been following the Blanche theme, but I did notice that she seemed at one point to be Ada's double. I also didn't follow the Lesbianism theme closely enough to comment. If Yolande/Landoy does refer to Colette that would also have bisexual implications

Dear Mr Gill,

Kickshaw/ Kickshoes seem to link up with the pun of chose and shoes at Chose University where Paar ("of Chose") practices whatever it is he practices, as Zapater of Aardvark does apparently in Boston -- Cambridge, actually come to think of it.

So if pair of shoes is a philosopher in Cambridge (England) the shoemaker of Harvard is a philosopher in Cambridge (Mass.) Kickshaw/kickshoe then combine those two strange ideas of shoes and universities in two towns called Cambridge.

This Yolande Kickshaw comes in the following context: Van and Ada are worrying about what to do if one should die before the other.

One solution would be for you to marry Violet.

OThank you. J¹ai tâté de deux tribades dans ma vie, ça suffit. Dear Emile says "terme qu¹on évite d¹employer." How right he is!¹

OIf not Violet, then a local Gauguin girl. Or Yolande Kickshaw.¹

As in other places in Ada, there is some confusion between two siblings and two sexes. Which is speaking? Is Van proposing that Ada "marry" Violet or is she proposing that he marry Violet? As Alexey Sklyarenko has suggested, it is probably "Vaniada's musings to itself."

The only other interesting contributions I can make is that Yolande is a variant of the Greek name Iolanthe which means violet. Also that Emile here (also thanks to Alexey) refers, not as I thought to Zola (who appears elsewhere as the art expert Mr. Aix) but to Emile Littre, the French lexicographer (not having access to his dictionary I will assume that "tribade ... terme qu'on evite d'employer" is a quote from it). "Dear Emile" probably lives in the same neighborhood as "Darling Dahlia."

Dear Don,

"Yolande Kickshaw" yields a few anagrams that actually "make sense" -- but aren't particularly enlightening:



3) A LOCK-AND-KEY WISH (my favorite -- what I wish to put Ada under)


p.s. I couldn't locate any Gauguin "Girl with Violets" but I did find that Sargent did a portrait of Violet Sargent (wife? sister?) which I will try to send (if I don't succeed try