NABOKV-L post 0017506, Sun, 21 Dec 2008 13:02:16 +0000

Re: Thoughts: McDarmiad, Lochearnhead
Oops false start. Beginagain:

Matt: I¹m rather confused. Priscilla Meyer (FWTSHH) [pp 60-61] seems to
think ³Angus MacDiarmid² is a ³Kinbote coinage,² a made-up name by VN,
hiding the identity of the very REAL Marxist poet HUGH MacDiarmid. I can
attest to Hugh¹s reality (although he was born C M Grieve! Scope there for
some Bird Spotting?) since I shared a platform with him in my Commie days (O
Schmerz). He was very sour-pus¹d when Domnic Behan and I attempted some
Proddy/IRA ecumenics by singing the Orange anthem, ³The Sash Me Father

Priscilla weaves a complex plot around this communist poet with hints of a
Celtic USSR, with Hugh¹s ³invented² LALLANS (Scots-English, NOT Gaelic)
languge (or some call it a dialect) being mirrored by CK¹s Zemblan. I have
strong reservations over this mixing of two entirely different linguistic
strands, which I¹ll explore later. With unbridled ³allusionism² you can
postulate almost any thesis with bags of ³wriggling² room against
refutations. For example, has anything really changed now we have a REAL
(even if pseudonymous!) Angus MacDiarmid (echoes of the EDISON FORD

PS: Jansy: ³Quine the Swine² is not necessarily disparagement, if aimed at
WVQ. The philosopher-logician¹s work is widely accounted as the most
swinishly complex and taxing.

Stan Kelly-Bootle

On 18/12/2008 16:42, "Matthew Roth" <MRoth@MESSIAH.EDU> wrote:

> Google Books now provides a full scan of Angus McDiarmid's Striking and
> Picturesque Delineations of the Grand, Beautiful, Wonderful, and Interesting
> Scenery Around Loch-Earn, from which we get the term "incoherent
> transactions," noted by Kinbote in his note to line 12. It's hilarious, of
> course, and it seems to relate to PF on a number of fronts:
> 1) The area surveyed by the author is not just Loch Earn, but also the town at
> one end, Loch-Earn-Head. Awfully similar to Hazel's bus stop isn't it? Here,
> McDiarmid notes, is a where a man of "incoherent transactions" (a term he uses
> three times, which seems to relate to theft, a la "pale fire"?) once leapt
> across a narrow neck of water after stealing a sheep. Hazel, for her part,
> drowned at Lochan Neck, a narrow place separating Exton from New Wye, where
> zesty skaters crossed.
> 2) The book contains a "preface," supposedly by a different author, explaining
> how the manuscript came to be published, and justifying its strange style.
> Here we might note the familiarity of a number of elements:
> Preface: "About the beginning of last Autumn, a Gentleman who had gone to
> spend a few days at Loch-Earn, to enjoy the sport of grouse shooting, was
> introduced of course to Angus M'Diarmid, whom he made his companion in all his
> excursions. He soon discovered that skill and attention in conducting him to
> the haunts of the muirfowl, was the least valuable qualification of his new
> acquaintance. The pleasure which he took in pointing out whatever was
> remarkable in the country which they traversed,‹ the rapture with which he
> dwelt on the wild and magnificent scenery which was ever varying to their
> view..."
> PF: "my friend had a rather coquettish way of pointing out with the tip of his
> cane various curious natural objects" (168).
> We might also think of Hentzner, who guided Shade around his fields, noting
> "the names of things." But McDiarmid is much more a Kinbotean figure than
> anything else. Continuing directly from above:
> "and the amazing pomp of expression in which be clothed his enthusiastic
> descriptions, rendered Angus himself not the least interesting and romantic
> object in these 'Alpine solitudes.' Some compliments on his powers of
> delineation encouraged him to speak of his manuscripts. Little persuasion was
> necessary to induce him to recite some of the most choice passages, which he
> did in a manner admirably harmonizing with the matter. As his confidence
> increased, he began to hint his intentions of publication : and, at last, in
> the fulness of his heart, he offered, as a mark of peculiar attachment and
> regard, to entrust the stranger with the manuscripts, on condition that he
> would send them to the press.
> "To give its full value to this mark of confidence, it was accompanied with
> the assurance that he knew no other person whom he could have trusted so far.
> ' It was impossible' he said, 'to divine what advantage a designing person
> might take of such a trust.' And with this becoming caution he had refused,
> though very earnestly entreated, to give the manuscripts to a gentleman on
> whom he was somewhat dependent, lest, by publishing them surreptitiously, he
> might cheat him of his well earned fame."
> MR: So here we have a rambling companion who tells tall tales of Alpine lands
> and becomes himself a kind of Romantic figure, who furthermore discloses his
> desire to see his accounts published and, though somewhat paranoid, gives them
> to a stranger (his hunting companion) as a means to seeing them published.
> What's more, the accounts, which are here treated with the utmost gravity,
> turn out to be written in a manner that reveals their author to be a fool (or
> perhaps the joke is on us!). All of this sounds too familiar.
> Finally, the preface anticipates that an authorship question will arise:
> "they will probably be inclined to wonder, that an untaught Highlander, whose
> thoughts have seldom wandered beyond his native mountains, should have been
> able to express himself in terms of such unparalleled sublimity. So strange,
> indeed, does this fact appear, that some may be disposed to doubt whether this
> Angus M'Diarmid be not altogether a fictitious person : and did we choose to
> be mysterious, it were easy to involve the matter in as much uncertainty as Mr
> Macpherson has thrown over the divine Poems of Ossian, and thus to encircle
> ourselves with that radiance of renown, which should beam in its full
> brightness around the fortunate Author. Let it be our fame(nobis manga satis)
> to have withstood so powerful a temptation.‹ Whoever will take the trouble to
> visit Loch-Earn, a trouble which the scenery will amply repay, may satisfy
> himself of the real existence of Angus M'Diarmid, and of his being the real
> author of these Delineations."
> Recall that VN often dealt with the question (reversed here) of whether his
> prefaces were written by fictitious characters. Altogether, I think a case can
> be made that McDiarmid contributed in some small ways to the formation of
> Kinbote and perhaps to the storyline in which Kinbote tries to get Shade to
> write about Zembla. Here is a link to the Google Books scan:
> Matt Roth

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