Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020926, Sat, 30 Oct 2010 17:01:37 -0200

Re: [NABOKOV-L] [Sighting] Wikt ionary on LOGODAEDALY & PF's" lien dédalien"
[ JM: logodaedaly (rare) Skill or cleverness in the coining of new words:1955, Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, Vintage (1997), ISBN 978-0-67972316-5, page 249, "He mimed and mocked me. His allusions were definitely highbrow. He was well-read. He knew French. He was versed in logodaedaly and logomancy."Annotated Lolita:.. (p.425, 250/1): "to prove that he is versed in logodaedaly (the arbitrary or capricious coining of words),*** H.H. the logomachist creates his own word..." (logo-machist?) NB: My praise to PF's French translator! In "Ada", original H.H's "logomancy" may become, in Ada's hands, a convoluted "Logogryph"]

JM: Whenever I remember Ada's comments on "verbal circuses, 'performing words,' 'poodle-doodles,' " when she mentions "a great logogriph or inspired pun," I invariably make the same mistake of substituting the "i" for "y." The coinage isn't hers*, nor is that the first time Nabokov has mentioned it. For example, it can be found in a most appropriate short-story, "The Vane Sisters" ( I quote: "Cynthia had been on friendly terms with an eccentric librarian called Porlock who in the last years of his dusty life had been engaged in examining old books for miraculous misprints...all he sought was the freak itself, the chance that mimics choice, the flaw that looks like a flower; and Cynthia, a much more perverse amateur of misshapen or illicitly connected words, puns, logogriphs, and so on, had helped the poor crank to pursue a quest...").

Stan Kelly, off list, sent me two informations. The first, related to my reference to "logomachist**" since a special definition of the word is to be found in Stan Kelly-Bootle's "The Devil's DP Dictionary." [ I quote SKB: "one of my favourite logo- words is logomachy, 16th century...no need for HH or VN to re-invent it. ...had my dictionary appeared earlier, VN might have found it there. WE DO SHARE PUBLISHERS! (McGraw-Hill)" ]


Due research provides the following:
"Toytown (From Wikipedia): Toytown was a British radio series for children, based around a set of puppets created by SG Hulme Beaman, broadcast by the BBC for Children's Hour, which ran from 17:00 to 18:00 on the Home Service. There were also some short films made during the 1970s which were broadcast on ITV.[4] The series starred Larry the Lamb ("I do my little be-e-est"), the perpetually inquisitive ovine central character and his eternally clever canine sidekick, Dennis the Dachshund, a German sausage dog. In each story a misunderstanding, often arising from a device created by the nventor, Mr. Inventor, occurs which involves the officious Ernest the Policeman, the perpetually disgruntled Mr Growser and the narcissistic Mayor."

btw: the word Appel relates to a Humbertian invention is not logomachy, but logomancy.

* Logogriph: a word puzzle (as an anagram) Origin: log- + Greek griphos reed basket, riddle - more at crib
First Known Use: circa 1598.

** - Logomachy ( a dispute over or about words; a controversy marked by verbiage, from the Greek logomachia, from log- + machesthai to fight)

*** - Returning to "logodaedaly," not only etymologically, but also analogically, there are innumerous related links to the labyrinthine sworls in human digits, thumbs and thimbles, Daedalus and "daedal" [ daedal: 1580s, "skillful, cunning," from L. daedalus , from Gk. daidalos "skillful, cunningly wrought." Also an Anglicized form of the name Daedalus from Gk. mythology (1610s).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper ] Synonyms: Byzantine, abstruse, baroque, can of worms, complex, convoluted, difficult, entangled, fancy, hard, high-tech, involved, labyrinthine, obscure, perplexing, rococo, sophisticated, tangled, tortuous, tricky Antonyms: direct, methodical, simple, systematic, understandable ..

There's also daedal/ dedal: derived from the Latin word digitus (finger; digit, interlocked by finger-like processes; finger; finger; toe; finger's breadth) and from the Proto-Indo-European root *deik- (to show, to pronounce solemnly; to throw).
"...Were it not for the Greek mythological figure Daedalus, skillful creator of the Cretan labyrinth, we never would have this word. It appears in the OED in both the capitalized (Daedal) and lower-case (daedal) form. The former is the Anglicized form of Daedalus, but it can also be a noun which means a labyrinth. But the far more prevalent appearance of the term is as an adjective, meaning "skillful, cunning to invent or fashion." Edmund Spenser's Fairie Queene (first three books published in 1590) holds pride of place for its first usage. "All were it Zeuxis or Praxiteles, His daedale hand would fail and greatly faynt." The language approximates epic, particularly slow-going for an era that has lost its oral and aural capacity for epic literature. Reference has been made to the "daedale hare," the "daedal harp" of Blind Harry the Harper, or the "daedal hand of Titan." Anything skillfully made can also be called something "daedal," as, for example, the "daedal nets" or the "daedal fancies" in the "quaint mazes of the crisped roof." There is another meaning of daedal, derived from the phrase "natura daedala rerum" of the 1st Century BCE Epicurean poet/philosopher Lucretius, and in this usage it means the varied or variously adorned nature of things. As Wordsworth could say, "For whose free range the daedal earth/ Was filled with animated toys." ... the OED lists seven other words derived from daedal, such as daedaleous, daedalian, daedalous and, my favorite, daedalize, to bring more precision to the word. Space only allows a reference to the verb daedalize, meaning "to make intricate or maze-like." From 1618: "Wee Lawyers then, who dedalizing Law, And deading Conscience, like the Horse-leach drawe." Just as I like the phrase "the ordinary dactylology of lovers" from above, I am drawn to a phrase describing lawyers, "who daedalize law and deaden conscience." That is, lawyers tend to make things so intricate that the gentle voice of conscience is completely swallowed up. And, to think that someone could have made that observation in 1618..."
www.daedalcreations.com/our-philosophy - 27 Nov 2006 ...
.www.drbilllong.com/More2006/Ds.html -

Remembering poor Gradus' s failed exchanges of coded hand-shakes and finger movements with Bretwit (Pale Fire), I append more information, now on dactyls:[Cf. Kinbote: "He is one of us! The fingers of his left hand involuntarily started to twitch as if he were pulling a kikapoo puppet over it, while his eyes followed intently his interlocutor's low-class gesture of satisfaction. A Karlist agent, revealing himself to a superior, was expected to make a sign corresponding to the X (for Xavier) in the one-hand alphabet of deaf mutes: the hand held in horizontal position with the index curved rather flaccidly and the rest of the fingers bunched (many have criticized it for looking too droopy; it has now been replaced by a more virile combination)."] Dactylology ...Derived from the two Greek words meaning "finger" and "knowledge," it means "sign language." Used as early as 1656 in Blount's dictionary, the word was at first spelled dactylogie and meant "finger-talk, speech made with fingers." However, the word which preceded it is chirology or cheirology, "cheir" being the Greek word for "hand." From Urquhart's 1693 translation of Rabelais we have: "Such a fine Gesticulator, and in the Practice of Chirology an Artist so compleat...that with his very Fingers he doth speak..." But dactylology also has a figurative usage, as this 1885 quotation suggests: "They pressed hands at parting...not for the ordinary dactylology of lovers, but in sign of the treaty of amity." I like the phrase: "the ordinary dactylology of lovers," because in the phrase I can see the lovers' entwined fingers and hands, the writing of love epics in the palms of the other, the tracing of 1000 poems in the sacred places of the other's body. Would Jesus' miraculous work, in which he cast out demons by the "finger of God" (Lk. 11:20), be rightly called 'God's dactylology'?".www.drbilllong.com/More2006/Ds.html -

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