Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0017518, Thu, 25 Dec 2008 00:45:51 -0500

THOUGHTS: Nabokov and Machado
Panayoti Kelaidis writes:

> > how can we know that Machado's englished weasel is
> not a
> > ferret or a marten,
> I don't know enough about Machado to say, especially
> considering it was a rhyming word, but the poem is set
> high on a dry mountain, so the habitat is wrong for a mink
> or a polecat. It seems it could be a stone marten.

Comadreja is the Spanish word for weasel, not ferret, mink or marten, nor stone marten. Moreover, weasels are notorious for their curiosity ("Pop goes the weasel" is not just a nursery song). Machado is conveying their behavior in the cadence of the verse. Anyone who has spent time alone in high mountains, particularly high dry ones, has likely been stalked by a weasel as I have. It's a thrilling and unforgettable experience. I suspect "comadre' is a alluded to in "comadreja": more, perhaps, to the friendliness of weasels ("little neighbor girl") that hang around like a little pesky girl in the neighborhood one has trouble getting rid of.

Antonio Machado is arguably the greatest Spanish poet of the last century.

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu
Visit Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
View Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com

Manage subscription options: http://listserv.ucsb.edu/