NABOKV-L post 0014311, Fri, 8 Dec 2006 10:20:59 -0500

"Danish words"
I have just joined your list because I hoped that you might find this
little comment useful.

Thank you.

Sidsel (UCB student and Dane)


If there is room, I would like to get in the line of Danes that seems to
be puzzled by Nabokov's use of the Danish language. To the suggested
interpretation of "hide" I add this quote, which I found in a book with
the almost John Ray-ish name of "These Names of Ours" (1938):

"A name originating in hide, one of the land divisions of England, as
Bank, Field, and Acre. A hide consisted of about one hundred and twenty
acres, in theory as much land as could be plowed with one plow. The name
Hyde may also be of a local origin from a town in Chelsire, England;
possibly also from hyde, or hithe an Old English word that meant a
or a landing place for boats. Hyde is occasionally a variant of the
surname Head." (174)

Another source refers to something similar: "a hide of land" and "holder
of a hide," but also notices that "the personal name appears to be
feminine as in 'Ida'" (Dictionary of British surnames, 1958, 164) which
would support a homo erotic or even queer interpretation of what it is
Hyde is hiding. To go back to plow and Danish, this non-conformist
reading might be supported by the fact that plow is used as a (at least
contemporary) Danish slang for the act of penetration.

Apart from this tentative suggestion I completely agree with Charles'
notes on Nabokov's inaccuracy on the Danish. But then I have been
wondering if V.N. cannot be accurate, why would he then pull out the
reference? Here the notion of "the same page of an old book" struck me
being as peculiar, because it at the same time seems very elusive and
extremely precise: Nabokov is stating that he and Stevenson looked at
particular page of an unparticular old book of some kind of surnames? it
is almost as saying that "I met him at some party." The information
achieved by this coincidence authorizes Nabokov to put specific
interpretations of the names on the table and take of others (among
the Freudian). By this I guess I hope to put at least of them back on
table again.


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