NABOKV-L post 0018669, Thu, 15 Oct 2009 13:25:26 -0300

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Nabokov and Jules Verne
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Sklyarenko: And in a voice like a husky clarinet the actor struck up the well-known air [my emphasis] from the Cloches de Corneville:*

JM: Uncle Dan was betrayed by his wife: he was a "cornuto" ( cuckold or "antlered," in English)**.
I would have disconsidered that "Cloches de Corneville" might imply horns, had you not brought this issue together with "Captain Grant's Horn" and the transformations of well-equipped bulls into bells ("Trumbull" and "Cloche"), so reminiscent of another series of words, now on Hemmingway's "balls, bells, bulls" (or something like that, in SO).

Why would this corny issue be so emphasized, in connection to uncle Dan (almost every character in ADA had similar experiences), if not to point to something else?

Might it indicate that Lady Trumbell's betrayal engendered a rusty Dan, whose lineage does not descend directly from the Veens?
(I haven't checked in ADA for precise genealogical data, if such an item can be obtained from VN's initial pages)

Nabokov, most certainly, felt attracted by the "time-travel" element suggested by Daniel's travels "in a counter-Fogg direction on a triple trip." Phileas Fogg's was unaware that he'd gained a 24-hour respite.***
The reverse would be expected for Uncle Dan's arrival, complicated by his "triple trip." Did this eventuality bring about any particular "disparity" for Dan's and Marina's wedding projects?




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* A.Sklyarenko: After he proposed to Marina Durmanova and was rejected, Daniel Veen, a character in ADA, decides to air his feelings and sets off "in a counter-Fogg direction on a triple trip round the globe" (1.1). According to Vivian Darkbloom, the author of "Notes to ADA," Phileas Fogg is the hero of Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days. As to a triple circumnavigation, it is mentioned (along with Uzun Ada, a port on the Caspian sea, between which and Peking the invented Grand Transasiatic railway runs) in another Jules Verne novel, Claudius Bombarnac .And in a voice like a husky clarinet the actor struck up the well-known air [my emphasis] from the Cloches de Corneville:
"I thrice have been around the world."
Adding, for the baron's benefit:
"He will not do the half." (end of chapter 9)
There are, of course, more allusions to Jules Verne's novels, including The Children of Captain Grant, in ADA. Cape Horn in Terra del Fuega is known on Antiterra as Captain Grant's Horn (2.1). Ada is said to have read Captain Grant's Microgalaxies at the age of ten or eleven (1.35).
(The Bells of Corneville, an operetta (1878) by J. R. Planquette. Cf. about Daniel Veen: "he was prone to explain at great length - unless sidetracked by a bore-baiter - how in the course of American history an English 'bull' [in Dan's mother's maiden name, Trumbell] had become a New England 'bell'" (1.1). The hero of Jules Verne's (rather boring) novel, Claudius Bombarnac, the Twentieth Century's special correspondent, travels, on two trains and a boat, from Tiflis (Tbilisi), via Baku and Uzun Ada, to Peking. Tiflis and Baku play also a prominent part in Ilf and Petrov's "The Twelve Chairs," while uzun kulak (steppe telegraph, literally: "long ear") is mentioned in its sequel, "The Golden Calf." Kulak is Russian for "fist," "rich peasant" and (obs.) "broker," "middle-man.")
There are, of course, more allusions to Jules Verne's novels, including The Children of Captain Grant, in ADA. Cape Horn in Terra del Fuega is known on Antiterra as Captain Grant's Horn (2.1). Ada is said to have read Captain Grant's Microgalaxies at the age of ten or eleven (1.35).

** Online translation for "cornuto," from the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Cornuto
(n.)
A man that wears the horns; a cuckold.

*** - In Verne's novel we read: "Phileas Fogg had, without suspecting it, gained one day on his journey, and this merely because he had travelled constantly eastward; he would, on the contrary, have lost a day had he gone in the opposite direction, that is, westward. In journeying eastward he had gone towards the sun, and the days therefore diminished for him as many times four minutes as he crossed degrees in this direction. There are three hundred and sixty degrees on the circumference of the earth; and these three hundred and sixty degrees, multiplied by four minutes, gives precisely twenty-four hours-that is, the day unconsciously gained. In other words, while Phileas Fogg, going eastward, saw the sun pass the meridian eighty times, his friends in London only saw it pass the meridian seventy-nine times. This is why they awaited him at the Reform Club on Saturday, and not Sunday, as Mr. Fogg thought."
Around the World in Eighty Days, ch. 37(Jules Verne, in the internet)


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