NABOKV-L post 0026519, Fri, 9 Oct 2015 21:01:42 -0700

pets, invalids & cats in Pale Fire
On Oct 9, 2015, at 6:46 AM, Alexey Sklyarenko wrote amongst other

In a variant of ll. 231-234 quoted by Kinbote in his Commentary (note
to Line 231) Shade mentions “pets, revived, and invalids, grown well”
who dwell in a strange Other World ... In his poem Pamyati kota Murra
(“In Memory of the Tomcat Murr,” 1934) Hodasevich mentions poetov i
zverey vozlyublennye teni (the beloved shades of poets and animals)
enjoying the deserved rest of eternity in the gardens beyond the river
of fire:

Dear Alexey,

In this interesting post, you neglected to mention that Tom Cat Murr
(Kater Murr) is one of the longer tales of E. T. A. Hoffmann. The
Wikipedia says that it was first published in 1819-1821 as Lebens-
Ansichten des Katers Murr nebst fragmentarischer Biographie des
Kapellmeisters Johannes Kreisler in zufälligen Makulaturblättern, in
two volumes. A planned third volume was never completed. It was
Hoffmann's final novel and is considered his masterpiece.

I tried once to read Hoffmann's nutcracker story and if I managed to
do it, I don't recall. That it was a hard slog, that I remember all
too well. I tried it in English - which may be the reason it gave me
such a hard time. I suppose I might give the original a try, but I'm
not too keen.

For some reason that I no longer recall, I thought to read Kater Murr
in conjunction with Pale Fire but never did. I suppose it must have
had to do with Hodge. In any event after the Nutcracker (or as Mark
Morris called his version of the ballet, The Hard Nut) I was fairly
put off Hoff, man.

Still and all thank you Alexey for the Khodasevich and the extract
from Pushkin's Proserpina which I intend to read, Russian verse being
much easier to read than even translated German prose. But what has
the one-armed theater goer to do with it? And what is Zina's surname?

P.S. Interesting that Pushkin's Pluto is bledniy (pale). I never came
across Aida (Hades) that I can recall. How does it relate to ad? if it
does. Interesting too that the initial H is simply dropped instead of
turning into the usual hard G as in galshtuk (from Halstuck) or Gamlet.

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