NABOKV-L post 0019473, Sun, 21 Feb 2010 21:12:05 -0300

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Re: QUERY: Red Wop Explained
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Re: [NABOKV-L] QUERY: Red Wop ExplainedStan Kelly-Bootle: CK: give Jansy a break! ...I read the 1949 Red Wop as a derogatory dig at the Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), clearly a plausible target for VN's contempt[...] Incidentally, partizan/nazi-trap is quite staggeringly realistic compared with the mundane powder/redwop...I could, if bribed, suggest Hey Gramsci, Lasciami in pace! Take a powder![...] As CK suggests, powder/redwop could just be one of the many wordplays in VN's vast, volatile repertoire that sprang to his mind. But, contra Jansy, we can never be sure that VN was consciously referring back to his previous uage in a 1949 letter.


JM: In the first place, I'd like to correct items which were sent in a previous posting but came in too late: to correct the spelling of "camouflage", for example, and the incorrect signs when transcribing Zimmer's "Fahles Feuer"* I had also added that Hazel's "untwisted" ideas suggested something in the line of what Carolyn Kunin had brought up (the hidden meaning behind her words). Pot/top are simple enough, but for someone familiar with the German, a popular saying might pop up ("Auf Jeden Topf Passt Ein Deckel") with "top" operating as the "lid" (on every pot there is a top to fit).
I never considered "redips." Translators, Zimmer and Dauster, didn't see any reason to strictly adhere to the meaning or to their occurrence. Zimmer was faithful to the "twisting" spirit and presented very clever substitutes.

Stan, I doubt it that Nabokov would not be consciously referring back to Wilson's usage in 1949. Opposing my vision there are Carolyn and you (Matt Roth was only mildly sceptic). Needless to say I won't try to count dancing angels atop a needle, nor argue about the (negligible?) "quotation marks." I know that Carolyn has ready arguments against my implication that, if "powder/redwop" is an allusion to Wilson, then, certainly, Kinbote's commentaries have been preferrably fashioned after Wilson's, instead of any other scholar/critics's. Perhaps her Stevenson three-in-one theory is the main factor? I'll certainly hear from her about that!

Kinbote is lean, a vegetarian, a homosexual so, probably, physically and realistically, he is the opposite of Wilson - and this makes a greater challenge in a search after other significant allusions and inversions, Conmal's translations and Wilson's, if there's any connection between Kinbote's idealized Zembla and Wilson's idealization of Lenin and the URSS...

In the tardy posting I'd also included a quote from VN, with which I'll end this long and futile answer to Stan and CK: "...deception in chess, as in art, is only part of the game; it's part of the combination, part of the delightful possibilities, illusions, vistas of thought, which can be false vistas, perhaps. I think a good combination should always contain a certain element of deception."(Interview, BBC, 1962).
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* Dieter Zimmer's "Fahles Feuer" (p.53;p444) "...Sie verdrehte Wörter:,< Rebe> -[<Eber>. / Und <Ton> zu <Not>. Aus <lese> wurde <Esel>,/ Sie nannte dich didaktische - was? - Catydide."

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