NABOKV-L post 0021798, Sat, 9 Jul 2011 22:06:29 +0000

Re: Lucette - tete

Dear all,

In French "faire tourner la tête", which is to me the meaning of Mlle Larivière's sentence, does not mean "to turn one's head", but to "make someone's head spin" (like in Edith Piaf's famous song "tu me fais tourner la tête", you make my head spin, i.e. you make me lose my mind). This particular expression is especialy used in amorous contexts, to describe love torments.
All my best to you all,

Marie C. Bouchet, PhD
Chair of the English Department
University of Toulouse II, France

Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2011 02:02:47 +0300
From: skylark1970@MAIL.RU
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Lucette - tete

She [Lucette]
complained to her governess who, completely misconstuing the whole matter (which
could also be said of her new composition), summoned Van and from her screened
bed, through a reek of embrocation and sweat, told him to refrain from turning
Lucette's head by making of her a fairy-tale damsel in distress.

Mlle Larivière probably uses the phrase tourner la tête.*
As I pointed out before, this phrase was used by Pushkin
in a four-line French poem written in 1821:

J'ai possédé maîtresse honêtte,
Je la servais comme il <lui> <?>
Mais je n'ai point tourné de tête,
Je n'ai jamais visé si

Lucette + fire = Lucifer + tête

golova + in vino veritas + barn =
Ivan Golovin + satira + brevno

golova - Russ.,
Ivan Golovin - the hero of
Tolstoy's story "The Death of Ivan Ilyich;" the admiral Ivan Mikhailovich
Golovin (d. 1738), Pushkin's great-great-grandfather (whose daughter, the poet's great-grandmother, was murdered, when she was
pregnant, by her husband in a paroxism of madness); Van Vin
(Russian spelling of the name Van Veen) looks like a "decapitated"
version of Ivan Golovin
satira - Russ., satire
brevno - Russ., log
(brevno was used by young Pushkin in another frivolous

Incidentally, the name Karenin was derived by Tolstoy from
karenon, Greek for "head" (see Sergey L'vovich Tolstoy's

*cf. vskruzhit' golovu (the
Russian equivalent of "to turn [one's] head")

Alexey Sklyarenko

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