NABOKV-L post 0014207, Tue, 28 Nov 2006 16:20:48 -0500

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Curdy, C/K/S, C Minus grade, and a Curious Link
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ED SES wrote: "I am ... ready to resume my post at the delete key and the
send button, so to speak." Awesome. As was JF's answer to Matthew, but in
this case, his requirements for a student getting an A+ are even more so.
I remember Nabokov's description of his experience with a C Minus student
who addressed him as "Prof. Kafka", before posing her question ( Yes, it can
be found in S.O).

This reminded me of a question I keep forgetting to pose to the list:
In Pale Fire's Index we find: Shalksbore, Baron Harfar, known as Curdy
Buff, b. 1921, man of fashion and Zemblan patriot ( 433).
Queen Disa had a cousin nicknamed Curdy Buff ( ' his family name, "knave's
farm," is the most probable derivation of "Shakespeare" ', as CK informs
us).
Curdy Buff, "Coeur de Boeuf": how is he related to Shakespeare, knaves and
appetizing tomatoes?
What is his importance in Pale Fire?

Carolyn Kunin (CK) wrote that the C/K question "strikes at the heart of the
solution to the Pale Fire puzzle - - my solution I guess I should say. It is
the confusion of c,k, and s that gave me the first inkling of what was
afoot. The index title page tells us that the three main characters of the
book are G, K, & S. After staring at those three letters for quite some time
I began to see the G as a modified C and then the solution came to me: C =
K= S."
She developed an algebraic demonstration and asked "Do you see?".
No. Neither "see" nor nor K. (But then, following JF's standards, I'm sure
that I would only rate a C Minus at M.Roth's classes.)

Many collaborators also offered suggestions about the C/K question ( my
heartfelt thanks): Giulia Visintin,A. Bouazza and Mary, who suggested that I
could google "centum satem".[ the conventional term for the split between
Indo-european languages that have the K sound and those that have the S
sound in words derived from the same I-E root (centum is Latin, and C was
pronounced K in classical Latin; satem is Avestan--both mean "hundred"), she
added].

Like a road sign carrying the word "Exit", that greets foreigners at
cross-roads and seem to indicate an omnipresent address, Nabokov´s works
offer another kind of reminder of the positive kind: "all roads lead to
Rome". Speaking of which, I read that even modern American sky-rockets that
are transported by train carry a curious link with Roman roads and
carriages, since the width of the train's gauge still follows the
measurements of the horse's backs used as a standard at the time of the
Roman conquests. Nabokov described Russian trains and metioned that in
Russia the gauge is different from the European ( and, so I imagine) from
the American. An interesting image for all Nabokov misteries that remain
closed to non-Russian speaking readers...

Before the switch SB observed that my C/K request was "truly shooting off
at a tangent, I'll that ask responses be sent directly to Jansy. If they
appear to create a VN-related pattern, Jansy may then submit them as a
digest!"
Well, I tried to be as brief as possible... Now, it's up to SES and her
scissors.
Jansy

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