NABOKV-L post 0000263, Tue, 31 May 1994 12:51:51 -0700

Burgess/Nabokov poem
The following query from Christine Raguet-Bouvart concerns the poem "To
Vladimir Nabokov on his 70th Birthday" which Anthony Burgess contributed
to the special Nabokov issue of TRIQUARTERLY edited by Charles Newman and
Alfred Appel. (Number 17, Winter 1970), pp. 336-7. Responses may be made
either directly to Dr. Raguet-Bouvart [] or to

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 31 May 94 12:44:16 +0200
From: UFR anglais <>

About A. Burgess's "To VN on his 70th birthday"

I am TRYING... to translate A. Burgess's poem into French but the
task is almost impossible. I am looking for tips because there are a few
things I am not sure of or even cannot make out.

1) Is there any hidden meaning in:
"Extrude an orange pip upon the track,
And it will be a pip played front or back,"
2) Are "Melita's caves, Calypso's honeycomb." from Homer, or Joyce or both or
even from elsewhere : anything hidden there ?
3) The grocer has a cat weighing "just 2 rotolos" : allusion here or simple
description ?
4) "Teresan spados stab / The Sacred Heart upon the driver's cab," : simple
description or allusion ?
5) THE MOST PROBLEMATIC PASSAGE IS : "Crossboard or chesswood, Eurish gift of
Finn_ / The "crossmess parzel."
6) upper house" : deck of cards ? House of Lords ? Human mind ?

To render all these into French is really problematic especially if I
want to keep the rhythm, allusions, paronomasia, palindrom & others ...

Any tip is welcome.

Thank you to all.

Christine Raguet-Bouvart