Korona-Vorona-Korova

Submitted by Shakeeb_Arzoo on Tue, 10/01/2019 - 14:44

I have been very busy with Hopkins but here's a brief note that might please some. It seems like Prof. Kinbote's commentary to line 803 of Shade's poem entitled "misprint" has a precedence in another poet's musings. Kinbote writes:

"A newspaper account of a Russian tsar’s coronation had, instead of korona (crown), the misprint vorona (crow), and when next day this was apologetically "corrected," it got misprinted a second time as korova (cow). The artistic correlation between the crown-crow-cow series and the Russian korona-vorona-korova series is something that would have, I am sure, enraptured my poet."

Another gloss on this comes from Hopkins's Notebooks (1863) as follows:

"From the curve of a horn, κορωνις, corona, crown. From the spiral crinis, meaning ringlets, locks. From its being the highest point comes our crown perhaps, in the sense of the top of the head, and the Greek κέρας, horn, and κάρα, head, were evidently identical; then for its sprouting up and growing, compare keren, cornu, κέρας, horn with grow, cresco, grandis, grass, great, groot. For its curving, curvus is probably from the root horn in one of its forms. κορωνη in Greek and corvus, cornix in Latin and crow (perhaps also raven, which may have been craven originally) in English bear a striking resemblance to cornu, curvus. So also γέρανoς, crane, heron, herne. Why these birds should derive their names from horn I cannot presume to say. The tree cornel, Latin cornus is said to derive its name from the hard hornlike nature of its wood, and the corns of the foot perhaps for the same reason. Corner is so called from its shape, indeed the Latin is cornu. Possibly (though this is rather ingenious than likely, I think) grin may mean to curve up the ends of the mouth like horns. Mountains are called horn in Switzerland; now we know from Servius that herna meant saxum whence the Hernici, Rock-men, derive their name; herna is a hornlike crag, έρνος, a shoot, is so called from its hornlike growth."

Hopkins was rather infamous as a collector of words and their roots (weighing and heavily deliberating on them) and like R.L. Stevenson used a dozen or more compound words in the English Language. I searched NABOKV-L briefly to see if someone had commented on this - but apart from Alexey (in a different context) no one seems to have done so. Nabokov has only two direct statements on GMH that I'm aware of and this just might be a case of two people (at different times) remarking on a curious case indeed!

SA

PS - Here's a post from way back when (!!!) from Donald Barton Johnson (https://thenabokovian.org/node/19617;) which I hope is resolved.