Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025154, Tue, 4 Mar 2014 01:34:09 +0000

Re: RES: [NABOKV-L] n-rereadings of PF: dualities...
Dear list

It may be of no relevance to anything, but may I mention a propos Jansy Mello's references to "glass biota" that the well known artisanal glassworks at Biot in the south of France was founded in 1956 by Eloi Monod and his wife Lucette......

Barrie Akin
Gray's Inn Tax Chambers

+44 (0)207 242 2642

On 3 Mar 2014, at 21:26, "Jansy Mello" <jansy.nabokv-L@AETERN.US><mailto:jansy.nabokv-L@AETERN.US>> wrote:

C.Kunin responds to Barrie Akin’s “As for the 'merman azure, crined or' I wonder if there is a connection with the 'false azure' of line 2. And could 'crined or' (=golden haired) be another oblique way of referring to a king? It suggests to me that this is hinting at the very start that the king is a fantasy. As for what else one could make of the merman, apart from the fact that that is also the title of the play that the king encounters twice at the end of the secret passage, The only literary association that springs to mind is Matthew Arnold's 'The Forsaken Merman' in which the merman's wife (doing the very opposite to Hazel) goes up above the water to leave her family forever.” : ”There is a Russian reference possible lurking here, if I may borrow your phrase. There is a russian tale (not exactly a fairy tale, one of the byliny) about a merchant from Novogorod who ends up at the bottom of the sea. The Nabokov family owned a fabulous painting showing him curled up asleep in the deep being approached by a sort of mermaid, but with legs, and a pagoda-like headdress). I hadn't thought to associate Hazel with this story, in fact I don't think I associated it with Pale Fire at all, but I may re-think.”

Jansy Mello: In the first place, sorry for the redundant replies (I’m having problems to communicate with several servers in the States). Forget the first one, read only the second about a tree-nymph related to Hazel, then mysteriously implicated in her father’s murder.

By the kind of associations that digital resources facilitate at present (unavailable fifty or even ten years ago) we’ll be unveiling links that V.Nabokov probably hadn’t fathomed, or at least not consciously, while perusing his dictionaries.

Is C.Kinbote’s tempting invitation to Shade for him to cross over (?) for a “knuckle of walnuts” related to Carya/Hazel? I’d accept as nabokovian the parallel between the admiral butterfly and the orange striped tie that Gradus wears at the time he shoots Shade but, about the Caryan one, I still entertain serious doubts. The link and bobolink network is amazing, though.

The risk of overinterpretation is there, all the time. Yesterday I found a connection to a “Bohemian Ampelos,” with various entries from the 1913 Webster dic. which relate “bohemian” to “garrulous”(“chatterer”) and to…bohemian glass. The main correlation, in this case, wouldn’t be with the glass factories in PF but with a certain “bohemian lady” in ADA, who is indiscreet and interested in glass.

Brian Boyd’s note (following Bobbie Ann Mason) makes no reference to “Biota” and… there is a glass biota that just might belong to the associative series. There are too many avenues to pursue since the same writer who wrote PF also wrote ADA and certain links might have sunk with pagoda-like headdresses in his memory to reappear here and there..*


* - Ampelos (ἄμπελος) is the Ancient Greek for " vine". The vine is personified as a beautiful satyr youth, eromenos of Dionysus. As foreseen by Dionysus, the youth was killed in an accident with a bull. After he died, Dionysus turned him into a grape vine and created wine fromhis blood.

Ampelose (singular: Ampelos ) were also a variety of hamadryad.

Sources • Nonnus, Dionisiaca (X.175-430; XI; XII.1-117); • Ovid, Fasti (III.407-414).

• G. López Monteagudo, The Triumph of Dionysus in TwoMosaics in Spain A study of the Roma mosaics found at Bañosde Valdearados, Spain Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia © 2001-2006 Wikipedia contributors(Disclaimer) http://www.reference.com/browse/Ampelos

ampelis garrulus

- Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 (?) Bohemian \Bo*he"mi*an\, a.

1. Of or pertaining to Bohemia, or to the language of its ancient inhabitants or their descendants. See Bohemian, n., 2. [1913 Webster]

2. Of or pertaining to a social gypsy or "Bohemian" (see Bohemian, n., 3); vagabond; unconventional; free and easy. [Modern] [1913 Webster] 3. Bohemian chatterer, or Bohemian waxwing (Zool.), a small bird of Europe and America (Ampelis garrulus); the waxwing.
4. Bohemian glass, a variety of hard glass of fine quality, made in Bohemia. It is of variable composition, containing usually silica, lime, and potash, rarely soda, but no lead. It is often remarkable for beauty of color. [1913 Webster]

Chatterer \Chat"ter*er\, n.

1. A prater; an idle talker.

[1913 Webster]

2. (Zool.) A bird of the family Ampelid[ae] -- so called

from its monotonous note. The Bohemion chatterer

(Ampelis garrulus) inhabits the arctic regions of both

continents. In America the cedar bird is a more common

species. See Bohemian chatterer, and Cedar bird.

[1913 Webster]


ampelis cedrorum - Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 (?) cedar waxwing \ce"dar wax"wing\, n. (Zool.)

a species of chatterer (Bombycilla cedrorum, formerly Ampelis cedrorum) widely distributed over temperate North America, so named from its frequenting cedar trees; -- called also cedar bird, cherry bird, Canada robin, and American waxwing. It is a brownish bird about 7 inches

long, between the size of a robin and a sparrow, has a crest on the head, a black face mask, and a yellow-tipped tail. The name comes from the black color of the tips of the wings, like that of a black sealing wax. They sometimes are seen in flocks.

[1913 Webster + WordNet 1.5]


Latin definition for :ampelos, ampeli

1. vine

• Age: In use throughout the ages/unknown • Area: Agriculture, Flora, Fauna, Land, Equipment, Rural • Geography: All or none • Frequency: Appears only in Pliny’s “Natural History”

• Source: “Oxford Latin Dictionary”, 1982 (OLD) http://www.latin-dictionary.net/definition/3162/ampelos-ampeli

Quotations from ADA: “Next day Demon was having tea at his favorite hotel with a Bohemian lady whom he had never seen before and was never to see again (she desired his recommendation for a job in the Glass Fish-and-Flower department in a Boston museum) when she interrupted her voluble self to indicate Marina and Aqua…I don’t envy you,’ he added; ‘the naive stranger who realizes that he or she has stepped into the mud of an alien life must experience a pretty sickening feeling. Did you get that small-talk information…”

“ Skonky died, not ‘of his wounds’ (as it was viciously rumored) but of a gangrenous afterthought on the part of the least of them, possibly self-inflicted, a sting in the groin, which caused circulatory trouble, notwithstanding quite a few surgical interventions during two or three years of protracted stays at the Aardvark Hospital in Boston — a city where, incidentally, he married in 1869 our friend the Bohemian lady, now keeper of Glass Biota at the local museum.”

biota (baɪˈəʊtə)

[New Latin, from Greek biotē, way of life, from bios, life; see gwei- in Indo-European roots.] The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

n. 1. (Biology) the plant and animal life of a particular region or period

[C20: from New Latin, from Greek biotē way of life, from bios life] Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
n. the animals, plants, fungi, etc., of a region or period.

[1901; < Greek biotḗ life, akin to bíos; see bio-] Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Glass Sponge Reef Biota (Biotic Subclass)

Component: Biotic/ Unique Identifier: 422 / Biotic Setting Benthic/Attached Biota Biotic Class Reef Biota Biotic Subclass Glass Sponge Reef Biota Biotic Group Glass Sponge Reef.

Definition: Areas dominated by live, deep-water, glass sponges (Order: Hexactinosida) present in densities that are judged sufficient to form substrate. These sponges construct a complex siliceous skeleton that provides structure and relief on the seafloor, creating habitat for many other organisms.

Brian Boyd (Ada Online): 13.33<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/ada12.htm>: Glass Fish-and-Flower department in a Boston museum: stylized version of the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/1333glaf.htm>, known as the Glass Flowers, at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology (where Nabokov was a researcher from 1941 to 1948). Bobbie Ann Mason notes: "The Glass Flowers are extraordinarily life-like glass models of flowering plants, principally orchids and tropical flowers [ ] One of the prominent features of the collection is a group of models which illustrate the role of insects in the pollination of orchids" (Mason 87). Leopold Blaschka (1822-1895), was the father, not the brother, of Rudolf Blaschka (1857-1939). Much of their early work was on marine animals, including sea slugs and hydroid jellyfish.[ ] At first they created plant and animal models at the same time, but they soon concentrated on plants, and in 1890 decided to work exclusively for Harvard. [ ] See http://www.urania-dresden.de/Blaschka_engl.html. MOTIF: artificial flowers<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/motifs.htm>.
5.11-12<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/ada12.htm>: now keeper of Glass Biota at the local museum: Demon has influence (cf. 13.31-32). Despite her husband's wound (or because of her infidelity?) she manages to give d'Onsky a son: see 523.02-04.

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