NABOKV-L post 0017519, Thu, 25 Dec 2008 10:55:01 -0200

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Re: THOUGHTS: Nabokov and Machado
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Panayoti Kelaidis [ how can we know that Machado's englished weasel is not a ferret or a 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) [...[. 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.

JM: Thank you for ellucidating the correctness of JF's choice for "weasel", instead of "mink". The original posting didn't offer the word in Spanish but fortunately J.Friedman next brought us Antonio Machado's original lines, his translation of them and the one by Nims.
I also wonder about "estelas en la mar", JF translated as "wake" ( JF's Portuguese option, "esteira", indicates "trail", as a comet's). There is a Catholic designation of the Virgin, "Stella Maris" (which may have unconsciously influenced my choice because Stella often became Estela when as a girl's name), but I don't imagine Machado had Mary in mind.
Anyway, even if a stars is not mentioned in Machado's lovely poem, Mary and newborn Jesus, and a star are being cellebrated today.
So, while joining Stan K-B's good wishes for this special season (this year, once again, troubled by economic and natural catastrophes), I would like to thank you all for diligently pursuing our literary links with past history, dreams and connections to nature and environment, for studying our living and evolving language and its inheritance since, nowadays, technical vocabulary, increasing speed in transaction and investments directed towards "future markets" have almost broken the vital chain engendered by our emotional and perceptual interconnections with the actual world and its inhabitants. Whenever I read VN I feel "re-ligious" ( from re-ligare in Latin: re-connect ) towards our shared human inheritance... Merry Christmas and a generous creative New Year to you all.

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