NABOKV-L post 0007245, Sun, 8 Dec 2002 20:01:01 -0800

Fw: Fw: Chose: verification of the Pushkin quote
EDNOTE. Context. ADA I, 2, Description of Eugene Onegin spoof wherein Demon
deflowers "la Durmanska." "At an invisible sign of Dionysian origin, they
[implausible peasant girls] all plunged into the violent dance called kurva
or 'ribbon roule' in the hilarious program..."

I don't have Brian Boyd's annotations at hand but I see Carl Proffer notes
Kurva means "whore" and considers it another VN dig at Robert Lowell's inept
translation of Mandelshtam's "Kurva Moskva" [Moscow the Whore] as "Moscow's
curving avenues."

One suspects that Russian borrowed the word from Yiddish. I also suspect the
lurking association of XOROVOD (prounced HOROvod)"a traditional Slavic
round dance" (cf. the text's 'ribbon roule' and "'hora' or 'horah'--"a
traditional round dance of Rumania and Israeli 'hora' < Turkish 'hora'.
These of course also phonetically evoke the English "whore" which is cognate
with Ital. 'Cara' (dear) -- but not 'hora.'These associations fit in with
"Dionysian" and Demon's snappy seduction of Marina.

From: "Jane Morrison" <>
To: "Vladimir Nabokov Forum" <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU>
Sent: Sunday, December 08, 2002 11:37 AM
Subject: Fw: Fw: Chose: verification of the Pushkin quote

> ----------------- Message requiring your approval (19
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I would like to use the opportunity and to add that "kurva" (whore, as
referred to Ninon de Lenclos) in another Pushkin's letter cited by me might
be related to kurva the dance in the EO travesty in the beginning (1.2).
Although Nabokov makes a point of the allusion to the mistranslations from
Mandelstam in Vivian Darkbloom's
Notes to ADA, many, if not all, allusions in ADA are double-edged. Besides,
"kurva" is a very rare word in Pushkin's vocabulary, and I can't remember
off-hand an instance of his using it in his works. <
> "Kurveh" is the common Yiddish word for whore. According to Leo
> Rosten's "The Joys of Yiddish" it derives from the Hebrew "karove",
> "a strange woman who comes very close."
> Cheers.
> Paul Montgomery
> Lausanne, Switzerland