NABOKV-L post 0017447, Thu, 11 Dec 2008 22:38:37 +0300

Hugo in ADA
If one knows that Ursus is a character in Hugo's L'homme qui rit, it doesn't come as a surprise that Montparnasse (, if you want to learn more about him) is a character in Hugo's Les Miserables (1863). In Ada, "Guillaume de Monparnasse" (sic) is the pen-name of Mlle Lariviere, Lucette's governess. The leaving out of the "t" in the second (or rather third, if we count the particule in the middle) component of her nom de plume should make it more intime (1.31).
In the old Russian alphabet, the letter "t" was called tvyordo ("hard," used as an adverb in the sense "firmly," "solidly," etc.). I would have amused you with my observations on the subject, if I had not been somewhat disappointed with the List's cool response to my ideas about dobro ("good," used as a noun), yet another letter of the old Russian alphabet, a few months ago.

By the way, does anybody know who is the author of the aphorism (that occurs in Ilf and Petrov's "The Twelve Chairs," 1927, and in at least one other Russian novel of the time) "children are the flowers of life"?

Alexey Sklyarenko

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