NABOKV-L post 0017437, Tue, 9 Dec 2008 11:35:06 -0200

[NABOKOV-L] cithereal mollitude (Verses and Versions)
Perhaps Borges was right in Pierre Ménard: the same word when it is uttered by a poet or by a child becomes a different word, its ressonances may be ample or shallow - even when they are heard in isolation, distanced from context, rythm or verse.

If in the early sixties, in an interview published in SO, VN described his work on Pushkin as demanding of him "the precision of poetry" and "the passion of science", I found that he'd expressed the same feeling, or so it seems, long before - with an added grain of irony in "On Translating 'Eugene Onegin' " for its closing lines are:
"This is my task - a poet's patience/ And scholiastic passion blent/ Dove-droppings on your monument." (1954).
It looks that this mottled statue gained wing (TRLSK), thanks to Nabokov and his mastery.Cf. "Liberty: An Ode, 1817"

In his praise of Pushkin, VN noted that P's "idiom combined all the contemporaneous elements of Russian". Among the poetical and metaphysical strain, everyday colloquialisms, stylized popular speech I saw that he included "abundant and natural gallicisms". And now, for the L-archives, here is another instance of VN's employ of "mollitude", related to soft Venus (mollitude) and contrasted against martial Freedom:
"Arrive;pluck off my garland;break/ the lyre of mollitude! I wish/ Freedom to sing unto the world/ and smite iniquity on thrones." (5-8).

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