NABOKV-L post 0014223, Thu, 30 Nov 2006 09:11:41 -0500

Postscript on "a song of exile"
[EDNOTE. Jansy Mello sends this postscript to yesterday's message on that other, comparatively brief, indexical poem by VN. -- SES]

VN"s reference to "ex Ponto" led me to "Letters from the Black Sea" ( Ovid's "Epistulae ex Ponto") and to Pushkin who, during his exile in Odessa, wrote a belated "response" to the Latin poet. It was entitled "To Ovid."
In the context of SM, "ex Ponto" seems to indicate a song of exile.

Checking VN's "Eugene Onegin" index, I found several references to Ovid from which I selected two:

The Princeton Bolingen edition, on page 228, compares Pushkin and Onegin: "and if Onegin is Pushkin's master in Byronic gloom, Pushkin can teach him a number of additional things about women, not found in Ovid" ( that is, Pushkin is a step ahead of Ovid's "Ars Amatoria" instructions, recently mentioned at the list by Peter Dale).

On page 60 the reference on Ovid is more extensive.
VN corrects several misapprehensions, such as Ovid's place of banishment ( VN identified it as the town of Tomi at the mouth of the Danube) or Voltaire's suggestion that Ovid had been banned because he received "secret favors" by Julia, daughter of Augustus.
He also comments on "Pushkin's singular mistake in his reference to Voltaire" who had written that Ovid's crime had been witnessing some shameful secret. "He might have seen Augustus with a young boy...or Augustus busy with his daughter or grand-daughter: the greatest probability is that Ovid had surprised Augustus in an incestuous practice." ( Le crime d' Ovide était incontestablement d'avoir vu quelquer chose d'honteux dans la famille d'Octave" VN quoted in French from Oeuvres de Voltaire,1792).

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