NABOKV-L post 0017043, Fri, 12 Sep 2008 16:33:41 -0300

Subject
[NABOKOV-L] Le Jeu de Robin et Marion
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The Real Life of Sebastian Knight



1."He even seems to approve of the title Cock Robin Hits Back, though Clare doesn't.'

'I think it sounds silly,' said Clare, 'and besides, a bird can't hit.'"

2 "Mr Siller makes his bow[...] the Adam's apple 'moving like the bulging shape of an arrased eavesdropper', the brown eyes, the wine-red veins on the big strong nose..."

3. " A robinsonnada - a marrvellous trick."

A friend gave me a marvellously funny musical recording of Adam de la Halle (1230-1288), "Le Jeu de Robin et Marion."
Adan d'Arras (as he was also called) started his work "during the decline of knightly ritual and the refinements of courtly love." and was one of the forerunners of musical comedy, in the line of jongleurs and meinstrels (data obtained from the leaflet accompanying the CD).

A sample of the Balladelle:
"Bergeronnette douce baisselete
Donnés le moi votre capelet.
Robin veus tu que je le mete
Suer ten kief par amourete
M'en iert il mieus se je li met."

(Little shepherdess, sweet damsel,
Yield your garland to me.
Robin do you want me to push it
Over your head as a proof of love
It would be preferable if I took charge of that)

We have a Mr.Nosebag in Knight's parodies, contorsionists, magicians. One of his creations has an Adam's apple...an arrased eavesdropper". The proximitiy of the underlined words is suggestive of Knight's title "Cock Robin Hits Back" and Adan d'Arras comedy about Robin and Marion - but it's merely a coincidence... As B.Boyd noted "arrased eavesdropper" refers to Hamlet, III,iii.28, where we encounter Polonius hiding befind the arras.
And yet, I think VN would have enjoyed it and the malicious play and its "balladelle".

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