Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020856, Sun, 10 Oct 2010 10:27:32 -0300

Fw: [NABOKOV-L] Demon Veen, Lisianski and Kruzensthern,
Nabokov and Baron von Langsdorff: circumnaviagations.
On Demon Veen's death and references to circumnavigation in "Ada":

When he described Demon Veen´s interest in a Pacific island, Nabokov inserted a discrete reference to the Russians who traveled around the world by the sea. Before that, Van's memoirs privileged special travels and unfulfilled projects to explore Africa and South America. There was also reference to Julius Verne's various novels (Capt. Grant's, and also "Around the World in Eighty days"). Uncle Dan, himself, circled the globe three times before he married Marina.

I discovered that, in 1803-06, Captain I. F. Kruzenshtern and Commander Lisianski were the first Russians to circumnavigate the globe. There's an "Atlas of Kruzenshtern's Circumnavigation", published by the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1813, in St. Petersburg. Kruzenshtern and his deputy commander Lisianski Urey were separated at the Hawaiian Islands and Lisianski continued his voyage to the island that carries his name in the Hawaiian Chain. The indication made by Nabokov for the Kruzenshtern and Lisianski travels, inserted in a paragraph about Van´s father Demon Veen, mentions that Demon died after the "gigantic flying machine had inexplicably disintegrated at fifteen thousand feet above the Pacific between Lisiansky and Laysanov Islands in the Gavaille region"(A, 504) Lisianski Urey discovered the island that carries his name in the Hawaiian Chain. It is also in Gavaille (Hawaii) where we find the Laysan island (paired to Lisianski island) and the Laysan albatross (Diomedeidae) which breeds on islands in the mid-Pacific, especially those of Hawaii. Lisiansky himself translated into Enlgish his book "A Voyage round the World", published in 1814. *

There is an interesting link between Van and Lucette hours before she threw herself overboard of the "Tobakoff":
connections: Marina "saw giant flying sharks with lateral eyes taking barely one night to carry pilgrims through black ether across an entire continent from dark to shining sea" (A,xx) Next, "The porcelain-white, eye-spotted Cowl (or 'Shark') larva (.) had safely achieved its next metamorphosis, but Ada's unique Lorelei Underwing had died (A,xx ). Fiunally ...'But you swim faster,' as Lucette complained(.): 'Mezhdu prochim (by the way), is it true that a sailor in Tobakoff's day was not taught to swim so he wouldn't die a nervous wreck if the ship went down'...Van: 'When michman Tobakoff himself got shipwrecked off Gavaille, he swam around comfortably for hours, frightening away sharks with snatches of old songs and that sort of thing, until a fishing boat rescued him - one of those miracles that require a minimum of cooperation from all concerned, I imagine'. Demon, she said, had told her, last year at the funeral, that he was buying an island in the Gavailles".

Van's records link ships (vapors) and airplanes using the image of the shark. In the same stroke he also referred to Hawaii (Demon´s Gavailles over which his plane exploded and Tobakoff suffered a shipwreck) and to the songs by sirens (a Sirin mermaid Lucette sending messages as Lorelei?). B.Boyd observed that the words "a doubled ocean" could mean, among other things, "the Atlantic and the Pacific, as marking the east and west boundaries of the Americas and the west and east of Russia (18:01)", a meaning suggested by the Lisianski island reference in Ada.

btw: The information above was part of a text on "Mascodagama" in which I tried to examine links with Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama (whose adventures are narrated in the Epic "Os Lusíadas" by poet Camões, translated into English by Sir Richard Burton). At the time I hadn't realized that another person, with strong links with Brazil (and reported to have collected at least a thousand different butterfly specimens) had joined Lisianski and Kruzenshtern's expeditions. His name, in Russian, is Grigori Ivanovitch Langsdorff. Considering Nabokov's references to the chief navigators and his interest in the "blues" found in Brazil, or one of Marina's lovers trips to Rio de Janeiro, I wonder why there was no reference, by Nabokov, do Baron von Langsdorff (or perhaps I didn't spot it?) Unless the missing documents, or their inability to preserve the butterfly specimens, were particularly frustrating to Nabokov, for even Alexander Humboldt has been considered in connection to Ada. I cannot remember the Baron anywhere...**

*Krusenstern, Adam J. Von. A Voyage Round the World in the Years 1803-1806... on Board the Ships Nadeshda and Neva (St. Petersburgh, 1809-1812 3 volumes; German version 1810-1814 3 volumes; London, 1812 2 volumes; French version 1821 2 volumes; Amsterdam, N. Israel, 1968).
Lisianksy, Urey. A Voyage Round the World in the Years 1803-06... in the Ship Neva (St. Petersburg, 1812; London, 1814; Amsterdam, N. Israel, 1968).
Langsdorff, George H. Von. Bemerkungen auf einer Reise um die Welt in den Jahren 1803 bis 1807 (Frankfurt: Friedrich Wilmans, 1812).
Langsdorff, George H. Von. Voyages and Travels in Various Parts of the World During the Years 1893-7 (London, 1813-1814 2 volumes; Amsterdam: N. Israel, 1968).
Kotzebue, Otto Von. A Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea and Beering's Straits, for the Purpose of Exploring a North East Passage... in the Ship Ruruck (Weimer, 1821; London, 1821; Amsterdam, N. Israel, 1968)
Choris, Louis. Voyage Pittoresque Autor du Monde, avec des Portraits de Sauvages d'Amerique... des Paysages, des Vues Maritimes (Paris, 1822-26)
1.. Langsdorff, George H. Von - ABCBookWorld :www.abcbookworld.com/view_author.php?.- Robert B. Honeyman, Jr. Collection of Early Californian and Western American Pictorial Material brought to you by the Online Archive of California (OAC), an initiative of the California Digital Library http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf9p3012wq
2.. **From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff, Baron de Langsdorff (b. Wöllstein, Germany, April 8, 1774; d. Freiburg, Germany, June 9, 1852) was a Prussian aristocrat, politician and naturalist. He lived in Russia and was better known by his Russian name, Grigori (Gregory) Ivanovitch. He was a member and correspondent of the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences and a respectedphysician, graduated in medicine and natural history at the University of Göttingen, Germany.Langsdorff first participated as naturalist and physician in the great Russian scientific circumnavigation expedition commanded byIvan Fedorovich Kruzenshtern, from 1803 to 1805. He left the expedition in Kamchatka to explore the Aleutians, Kodiak and Sitka; and returned from San Francisco by ship to Siberia and thence to Saint Petersburg by land, arriving in 1808. In 1813 Langsdorff was nominated consul general of Russia in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He acquired a farm (named "Mandioca", ormanioc) in the north of Rio and collected plants, animals and minerals. He hosted and entertained foreign naturalists and scientists, such as Johann Baptist von Spix (1781-1826) and Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius (1794-1868), and explored the flora, fauna and geography of the province of Minas Gerais with French naturalist Augustin Saint-Hilaire from 1813 to 1820.
The Langsdorff Expedition, was "proposed to the Tsar Alexander I and to the Academy of Sciences to lead an ambitious exploratory and scientific expedition from São Paulo to Pará, in the Amazon, via a fluvial route. In March 1822, he returned to Rio in the company of scientists Édouard Ménétries (1802-1861), Ludwig Riedel(1761-1861), Christian Hasse and Nester Gaverilovitch Rubtsov (1799-1874), who would take care of zoological, botanical, astronomical and cartographical observations during the expedition. With the aim of illustrating and documenting his findings, the Baron hired painters Hércules Florence, Johann Moritz Rugendas and Adrien Taunay. The inventor of the bicycle Karl von Drais was also a participant in the expedition...Most of the members of the expedition became ill with tropical fevers (most probably yellow fever), including the Baron de Langsdorff. As a consequence of the febrile attacks, he became insane at the Juruena River on May 1828. The expedition was joined again in Belém and returned by ship to Rio de Janeiro, arriving on March 13, 1829, almost three years and 6,000 km after its departure... Huge scientific collections were deposited into Kunstkamera and later formed basis for South American collections of Russian museums. However, the rich scientific records of the expedition, comprising many descriptions and discoveries in zoology, botany, mineralogy, medicine, linguistics and ethnography, that were sent to Saint Petersburg by the expedition, were not published and were lost in the archives for a century. They were found again by Soviet researchers in funds of the USSR Academy of Sciences archive in 1930.[2] Due to the travel's hardships, Langsdorff team was unable to collect many biological specimens or study them in detail, so most of their account is geographic and ethnographic, being particularly interesting on the many indigenous people of Brazil they met, many of which became extinct. Today, a large part of the material has been recovered and is in the Ethographic Museum, the Zoological Museum and in the repositories of the Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg.

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