Jansy, I'd hoped the associations were clear. Nabokov mentioned a bird (hawfinch) and Van said that he could make a distinction: "knows a stone from a cone". Hamlet says he can draw a distinction between two birds -- "know a hawk from a handsaw" -- so Shakespeare was more compact. Hawfinch & hawk.

I've changed my mind about the "country lad" as referring to Stratford, and now think Nabokov pursued the Hamlet connection. The complete phrase is "But then, I'm not a country lad, who knows a cone from a stone". In Shakespeare's day there was a salacious use of the word 'country' whereby its first syllable alluded to female genitalia. In the first of several lewd jokes that Hamlet aims at Ophelia, he says "Do you think I meant country matters?" (III, ii). In which case, the cone could have a phallic connotation http://www.artgraphica.net/images/how-to-draw-trees/i142-spruce-fir-cone.JPG ; and if those are accurate, the stone is in the bag.

As for your selected quotations, they need a full examination, which is very time-consuming, so they'll have to wait in line. I was in the process of preparing a long (too long) posting about the relevance of Philip Sidney's Arcadia to Ada, when Alexey told me about an essay by Penny McCarthy on that very subject. I downloaded it a couple of days ago and had myself already noted most but not all of the allusions she mentioned. She missed quite a lot, e.g. Sore the ribald night-watchman (p.211), Sore being the name of the river on which the town of Leicester stands, the Earl of Leicester having been Sidney's uncle, sponsor as well as suitor to QEI; also the "cory door"; and several others. She also missed the relevance of the Arcadia to the structure of Ada, and exaggerated the likelihood that Nabokov saw something of himself and his life experience in Sidney. Moreover, being of the Stratfordian persuasion she saw little beyond Sidney, and consequently noted the presence of Vere Earl of Oxford only in so far as he impinged on Sidney, which meant the Tennis Court Quarrel alone. Yet Percy de Prey is a not insignificant character, in contrast to Harfar Baron of Shalksbore, both of whom, as coeur[s] de boeuf, "represent" Vere. While I'm here, I'll just mention that Percy's first appearance (p. 187) has him with "a flute of champagne in his hand". Having been prevailed upon to read chapter 7 of Bend Sinister, I must quote its first two sentences: " A fluted glass with a blue-veined violet and a jug of hot punch stand on Ember's bed table. The buff wall directly above his head (he has a bad cold) bears a sequence of three engravings". It's odd how a 1947 book anticipates PF and Ada. Fluted & flute are too much of a coincidence to be one. Glass in French is verre. Blue-veined could mean either aristocratic (as in Earl, blue blood) or the blue boar that was Vere's emblem, or both. Could "hot punch" imply aggression? Ember is a good name, one talks of dying embers, as in a pale fire. Buff wall is a giveaway, buff being boeuf. I'm not sure how a wall can be directly above his head, since that position is typically reserved for a ceiling. I suppose he's propped up. He has a bad cold, but if you have a bad cold you'd say "I have a bad code". Well, Nabokov was a horrible purveyor of allusions. In any case, the first paragraph of BS's chapter 7 refers exclusively to Vere.

It is a pity for Nabokov studies that none of the established scholars knows anything about the anti-Stratfordian arguments. Nabokov knew them very well; I can occasionally infer which individual books he'd read, based on snippets in his novels that could have had no other source. But for the likes of Brian Boyd, for example, the anti-Strat case is both odious and contemptible, and as a result an entire stratum of Nabokov's writing goes un-researched by those best qualified in general to undertake such a task. It is likewise unfortunate that when this subject was raised a few weeks ago, the Stratfordian element resorted to a hit-and-run strategy. Brian Boyd wrote that he felt compelled to comment since his name was mentioned (albeit erroneously) and proceeded to deliver a stinging diatribe against both the arguments and the individuals; the phrase "mind-virus" was used. In his wake, Ron Rosenbaum delivered what was intended as a stinging one-liner. Subsequently Brian Tomba responded diligently and remarkably courteously, all things considered, and suggested (implored) Boyd to examine the Oxfordian arguments, for which he provided links. That was the end of the conversation. It is also noteworthy that the argument used by Boyd as one that allegedly disables the Oxfordian case most damagingly is the idea that Shakespeare plundered a text written several years after Vere's death for the storm passages in Tempest. Yet this text was not a work of literature, it was a report of a voyage written for a commercial consortium and.....well, if anyone is interested, they can read the Oxfordian rebuttal here
http://www.shakespearestempest.com/articles/Stritmatter.Kositsky.BC.Tempest.pdf. Brian Boyd made a point of flaunting his professional qualifications, it might be relevant to note that the first named author has Ph.D. in comparative literature.


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