NABOKV-L post 0017178, Sun, 12 Oct 2008 22:34:24 -0200

Re: [NABOKOV-LIST] Stylistic distortions and foot-notes
Re: [NABOKV-L] [NABOKOV-LIST] Stylistic distortions and foot-notesStan K-B: the prolific & weird mathematician Paul Erdo:s [...] was fond of word-games. He pointed out that "old/cold" was a rare, sad rhyming pair that also rhymed in German: "alt/kalt."[...] Question remains: the reason for VN's aversion to Finnegans Wake? Did Joyce go TOO FAR, OVER-teeming with allusions, puns, spoonerisms, anagrams[...]

Kinbote:"There exists to my knowledge one absolutely extraordinary, unbelievably elegant case, where not only two[mountain-fountain], but three words are involved[...] A newspaper account of a Russian tsar's coronation had, instead of korona (crown), the misprint vorona (crow), and when next day this was apologetically "corrected," it got misprinted a second time as korova (cow). The artistic correlation between the crown-crow-cow series and the Russian korona-vorona-korova series is something that would have, I am sure, enraptured my poet. I have seen nothing like it on lexical playfields and the odds against the double coincidence defy computation [...] Goethe's two lines opening the poem [Wind-Kind] come out most exactly and beautifully, with the bonus of an unexpected rhyme (also in French: vent-enfant), in my own language [vett-dett]."

JM: VN, like Shade, was enraptured by hidden resonances and linguistic aerobics but it is my impression that he harbored a sense of "sacred mystery" towards words and coincidences. From this perspective Joyce's wake would come very close to heresy.
Perhaps this opinion would echo only Kinbote's for, concerning Shade's play with "The Great Potato" (Rabelais' "le grand peut-être), Kinbote noted that it was an "execrable pun, deliberately placed in this epigraphic position to stress lack of respect for Death." In connection to "If" (yew in French, weeping willow in Zemblan, perhaps in IPH) he added: "I am also obliged to observe that I strongly disapprove of the flippancy with which our poet treats, in this canto, certain aspects of spiritual hope which religion alone can fulfill."

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