NABOKV-L post 0019490, Tue, 23 Feb 2010 00:40:00 -0300

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[NABOKOV-L] Pope "On Burnet and Ducket" and Homerides
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JM: Thus Amphisbæna (I have read)/At either end assails; / None knows which leads, or which is led,/ For both Heads are but Tails.
RLSGwynn: This may well be by Pope, but it cannot be from The Dunciad, which is written in heroic couplets, not quatrains.

JM: The lines were mentioned in connection to Pope's "On Burnet and Ducket," by Sir Thomas Browne, in a foot-note to "Vulgar Errors III.xv: Of the Amphisbaen," transcribed in the internet. It seems to be part of one of the various versions of the Dunciad, namely, the "Variorum."* That's as far as I dare proceed, if I am to keep from repeating wiki-items like a parrot. If Nabokov, like Shade, was familiar with Pope's works, the poisonous debates related to homeric translations and consequent satires, may not be excluded from PF, even if the "Amphisbaena/Wilson" link is stronger in relation to Housman, "ancient gillette," and Wilson's essay on Housman, connected to the word-twisters produced by Hazel ( top/pot, diaper/redips, powder, etc). The contrasted bristlings bt. Shade and Housman, as described by Kinbote, while the two poets are shaving and musing, seems to be another Kinbotean invented set of fake "oppositions."

Stan K-Bootle warned me against over-interpretation, but Nabokov's irradiating allusions are too tempting to resist. Keat's poem "On first looking into Chapman's Homer," was informally introduced at least twice (extra-textual citation needed), when Nabokov describes himself looking like "stout Cortez." And he must have enjoyed the opportunity to include in PF the curious "Chapman's homer" clipping ( and Kinbote misses the irony). So, why not extend the pleasure and open the way to encompass ancient rivalries and enmities,associated with other known translations of Pushkin or Homer, for example, through Conmal's toils, Sybil's or Kinbote's?

Carolyn, don't you think that the mixture bt. the characters, Shade and Kinbote, which is outlined by what both share with Alexander Pope ( they do seem to share certain traits or interests?), argues in favor of your almost theological or triptychal speculations?


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* (wiki) In 1715, Burnet and Duckett wrote Homerides, or, a letter to Mr. Pope, occasion'd by his intended translation of Homer; by Sir Iliad Doggerl, and in 1716 they wrote Homerides, or, Homer's First Book Moderniz'd. Pope accused them of attacking his translation of Homer prior to anything even being written, and with some justice, and Duckett continued the battle with An Epilogue to a Puppet Show at Bath Concerning the same Iliad by himself. Edmund Curll, in his battle against Pope, published the Epilogue. Pope's revenge appeared in The Dunciad of 1728, and in particular in the Dunciad Variorum. Because of their positions in government, Pope did not attack Duckett and Burnet by name in Dunciad itself, and he did not directly impugn them until the Variorum. Duckett and Burnet also funded and contributed to two weekly journals, The Grumbler and Pasquin. He was also the patron of one of Pope's other enemies, John Oldmixon.

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