Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0027226, Tue, 15 Nov 2016 18:24:14 +0000

RES: [NABOKV-L] [SIGHTING] Times Literary Suplement
August/October 2016
JANSY MELLO: How interesting! SAM GWYNN highlighted Kinbote's role as "a king of the 'fairies' himself whose sexuality, dating from his own 'boyhood,' is both homosexual pedophiliac--'another boy, another boy,' while we were discussing CK's Cedarn cabin and the little angler plus "alder" and "peacock herl."
In an old article online I found a few associations to this commentary or its reference to line 634: "Another kind of waxwing is the Cedar Waxwing. Botkin has fled to Cedarn. The anagram of Cedarn is nacred." https://newrepublic.com/article/63440/bolt-the-blue

( cf.: Charles Kinbote on Shade's Line 109: iridule: An iridescent cloudlet, Zemblan muderperlwelk. The term "iridule" is, I believe, Shade’s own invention. Above it, in the Fair Copy (card 9, July 4) he has written in pencil "peacock-herl." The peacock-herl is the body of a certain sort of artificial fly also called "alder." So the owner of this motor court, an ardent fisherman, tells me. (See also the "strange nacreous gleams" in line 634.)
The iridule, in my eyes, is a wonderful poetic condensation related to how distant tempests may be witnessed and interpreted. I consider it as being more significant than a neologism created by Shade to describe the phenomenical world and explored in its modern-day "rainbow" associations by Kinbote. A "muderperlwelk" doesn't reproduce faraway turmoils and its description can be found online easily under "Nacreous clouds" (it was CK who directed the reader to them, indicating Shade's reference to "nacreous gleams" after associating them to something nacreous or nacred, iridescent, rainbow-colored). Zembla is like Shade's American iridule that has been brought close to the nacreous clouds* and their occurrence might point towards Semblaland's localization in the northern regions (Arctic zones in Canada, Scandinavia, Iceland. I found no reference to Northern Russia)
"Nacreous clouds form in the lower stratosphere over polar regions when the sun is just below the horizon. The clouds are illuminated from below and often glow in vivid colours and will often remain visible for a couple of hours after sunset and through the night as they are lit by moonlight. Nacreous clouds form below -78 °C temperatures and so are most likely to occur during the polar winter. The water droplets which form nacreous clouds are much smaller than those forming more common clouds. The smaller droplets scatter light in a different way which is what creates the distinctive luminescent appearance.They are usually only visible from the UK when the cold air which circulates around polar regions in the stratosphere (known as the stratospheric polar vortex) is displaced and hovers temporarily over the UK which creates the very cold conditions required. They are most likely to be viewed during civil twilight when the sun is between 1º and 6º below the horizon and are most likely to be seen at higher latitudes such as Scandinavia and northern Canada. They are sometimes known as 'Mother of pearl' clouds." http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/learn-about-the-weather/clouds/nacreous (the images are gorgeous).
*- Very much rarer iridescence is that of nacreous<http://www.atoptics.co.uk/highsky/nacr1.htm> or mother-of-pearl clouds. They can glow very brightly and are far higher than ordinary tropospheric clouds. http://www.atoptics.co.uk/droplets/irid1.htm

De: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] Em nome de RS GWYNN
Enviada em: domingo, 13 de novembro de 2016 01:37
Assunto: Re: [NABOKV-L] RES: [NABOKV-L] [SIGHTING] Times Literary Suplement August/October 2016

A note: Oberon is Shakespeare's "king of the fairies" in A Midsummer Night's Dream. The name is derived from the French Auberon and is possibly connected to the character of Alberich from The Niebelungenlied and Wagner. Oberon's quarrel with Titania is over possession of a "changeling" boy, and Shakespeare is obviously playing with the usual folkloric motif of the "stolen child" of fairies as Titania reports that the child was born of an Indian votary of hers who died in childbirth. I am not sure that this has any relevance to Pale Fire, but Kinbote is a king of the "fairies" himself whose sexuality, dating from his own "boyhood," is both homosexual pedophiliac--"another boy, another boy." Just as Hamlet is the Shakespeare play at the heart of Bend Sinister, Timon of Athens (Shakespeare's most homocentric) is the key play here. Still, I wonder about connections to other Shakespeare plays in Pale Fire.

Sam Gwynn

-----Original Message-----
From: Jansy Mello <jansy.mello@OUTLOOK.COM<mailto:jansy.mello@OUTLOOK.COM>>
Sent: Sat, Nov 12, 2016 2:08 pm
Subject: [NABOKV-L] RES: [NABOKV-L] [SIGHTING] Times Literary Suplement August/October 2016
Former posting by Matt Roth:
Below, Jansy quotes from White's article thus: Even the index to Pale Fire is funny, and camp. We are told of a cordoned-off section of the royal picture gallery that “contains the statues of Igor’s 400 favourite catamites”. In the entry for Kinbote himself we discover inconsequential mentions of “his boyhood in Cedarn and the little angler, a honey-skinned lad, naked except for a pair of torn dungarees, one trouser leg rolled up . . . but then school started or the weather changed”. No matter that the little angler has never been mentioned until now."/ White is incorrect, not only in his odd insertion of "boyhood" (instead of logcabin) but also in his assertion that the angler has not been mentioned. In CK's note to lines 609-614 we find: "Cedarn is again a ghost town, and there are no summer fools or spies to stare at me, and my little blue-jeaned fisherman no longer stands on his stone in the stream, and perhaps it is better so" (235).

Jansy Mello:
Nice of you to take up White's incorrect quote here and add another observation, related to one more reference to the young angler. You motivated me to do a fresh google search about fishing - since there's always something new in the www being added to previous informations.

Charles Kinbote's recognition of Shade's invention of the "iridule" appears to be clouded by envy since he absorbs the poet's rich imagery into a Zemblan routine object ("muderperlwelk") and pulls the subject towards aquatic themes and fishing decoys. Charles Kinbote on Shade's Line 109: iridule: An iridescent cloudlet, Zemblan muderperlwelk. The term "iridule" is, I believe, Shade’s own invention. Above it, in the Fair Copy (card 9, July 4) he has written in pencil "peacock-herl." The peacock-herl is the body of a certain sort of artificial fly also called "alder." So the owner of this motor court, an ardent fisherman, tells me. (See also the "strange nacreous gleams" in line 634.)

There is a fisherman's hook linking "peacock-herl" and the "alder" (not necessarily "an artificial fly" only), as described in various texts mentioned by search-machines. However, it doesn't seem to be an actual synonym (as in: "also called"). As in the past I was intrigued by this approximation because I linked "herl" to "erlking" and to "alderking." There is a slight reference to V. Nabokov and Pale Fire below.


HERLA Herla King is a legendary leader of the mythical Germanic Wild Hunt and the name from which the French term, Herlequin may have been derived. Herla often has been identified as Woden and in the writings of the twelfth century writer Walter Map, Herla is portrayed as a legendary king of the ancient Britons who became the leader of the Wild Hunt after a visit to the Otherworld, only to return some three hundred years later, after the lands had been settled by the Anglo-Saxons.//
King Herla is a modernisation of the Old English form Herla cyning, a figure that usually is said to be Woden in his guise as leader of the Germanic Wild Hunt and thus the name is thought to be related to the French Harlequin, the leader of the Wild Hunt in Old French tradition. The same figure in Germanic paganism was described first by Tacitusin terms of the Harii who fought at night taking the appearance of an army of ghosts. The later Germanic tribe of the Heruli are also related to Herla.
Also, King Herla possibly is related to the German Erlkönig (best known from Goethe's ballad Der Erlkönig).[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herla

ERLKING (from Elf-king or Herla-king; German: Erlkönig) is a name from Danish and German folklore for the figure of a spirit or "king of the fairies". While early stories feature the Erlking's daughter as a malevolent figure, Goethe's poem "Der Erlkönig" and those following it have the Erlking himself prey on small children. The origin of the name Herla would be erilaz ("earl", Old Saxon erl), also found in the name of the Heruli (so that German erl-könig would literally correspond to earl-king)
In German, the name was re-interpreted and associated with Erle, the name of the alder-tree (suggesting a spirit haunting the forest). This form is now primarily known due to the 1782 ballad by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (and Schubert's musical adaptation), "Der Erlkönig". In this context, the term is also sometimes rendered in English as Erl-king. // Charles Kinbote, a character in Vladimir Nabokov's 1962 novel, Pale Fire, alludes to "alderkings". One allusion is in his commentary to line 275 of fellow character John Shade's eponymous poem. In the case of this commentary, the word invokes homosexual ancestors of the last king of Zembla, Kinbote's ostensible homeland. The novel contains at least one other reference by Kinbote to alderkings. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erlking

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,dana.dragunoiu@gmail.com,shvabrin@humnet.ucla.edu
Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com
AdaOnline: "http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/
The Nabokov Society of Japan's Annotations to Ada: http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html
The VN Bibliography Blog: http://vnbiblio.com/
Search the archive with L-Soft: https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A0=NABOKV-L

Manage subscription options :http://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=NABOKV-L