Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020706, Fri, 10 Sep 2010 17:56:24 +0100

Re: Scry and mysteries
Jansy: Molly and Moll seem to be early, familiar forms for Mary. So are Polly and Poll. Don't
ask why! As hard to explain as why Margaret gets called Peggy/Peg/Pegeen. The 17th century slang, Molly for tart/prostitute has survived chiefly in the American gangster's MOLL. But, slang comes and goes. We still have the wonderful MOLLYCODDLE, meaning 'to pamper.' And,
note that almost any girl's name can be used offensively for gay males (e.g., Nancy-boy; even 'he's a BIG BLOUSE!')

We mustn't read too much into any of many Mollys/Molls in literature (Flanders, Bloom, Malone ...) To Joyce's Leopold Bloom, Molly was a FOND appellation with no sniggers attached. Defoe's Moll Flanders, of course, leads a shady life, but, strangely, the novel tells us that that was not
her true-born name. One can imagine Defoe deliberately picking Moll to spice up the
title and action.

VN's MOLLITUDE is a sweet portmanteau coinage, which SHOULD mean something
like soft-centred solitude? It follows all the rules of English agglutination, as with certitude and plenitude. I don't have the latest OED handy (to be online only, they say), but mollitude hasn't yet reached the shorter New Oxford American Dictionary (kindly provided on my Kindle.)

Well done with LUX-NUX-NOX. All three words are valid in both Latin and English dictionaries
although the English NUX appears only as Nux vomica [how sickening!], and the meaning for NOX differs (Nitrous oxide!) An all proper-English word-golf solution
offers a HOLE IN ONE, of course: LIGHT-NIGHT. Or vice-versa, since all solutions are
Stan Kelly-Bootle

On 9 Sep 2010, at 16:14, Jansy <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote:

> Stan [to Jansy on "crystalomancy"]: POETS have a lot to answer for, SCRYING, sorry, SCREWING up our Noble Tongue. Here's HOW (very approximately): the innocent verb DESCRIBE* (via Descrive) gets slightly mangled into DESCRY. Then the meaning is stretched to include PERCEIVE, and wider still, to SEE FROM AFAR. Then the poor word gets shortened to SCRY simply to fit some prosaic, prosodic [sic] SYLLABLE COUNT. Along come the lexicographers who endow SCRY with spurious nonsense about FORTUNE TELLING and Crystal Balls. ...A fine old circular mess! Lexicographers guessing what Poets mean, then Poets (the lesser ones!) believing what the Dictionaries tell them. I'm not surprised you were puzzled.... Reading SCRY in a poem, some might guess the original meaning (descry) from context, especially if the SPELLING were helpful, namely 'SCRY (a common way of indicating poetic curtation, as in LOV'D etc) Hope that helps. There is a comically long list of -MANCY words, evidence of HomSap's GULLIBILITY.
> * Read GSL's quote from TLS again: "Describe the horoscope ..." Accident or deliberate?
> JM: I also hope it helps. As for World Golf, here is my first inversion,with a "dark and light" (chiaro-scuro) mood suggested by Matt, using words Nabokov inserted in "ADA" ( inspired by light-bearing Lucinda's final 'nox")
> A non-anglophone friend, in his article about homosexuality, mentioned the name "Molly" ( applied in the XVIIth century to prostitues and passive effeminate males), which until now I'd only referred to Joyce's Molly Bloom. Nabokov uses it in Ada, indicating Lucette through daisies almost drowning in water (molly-blob, I think it was), but I hesitate to find any allusion to this new meaning for the common nickname.
> Another Nabokovian coinage is the unsoft "mollitude", often applied to Villa Venus: it must be equally unrelated. However, non-etymological associations are common in our mind's underworld, particularly in the case of polyglots such as Nabokov.

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