Onhava =Avalon? Arthurian references in PF?

Submitted by MARYROSS on Tue, 10/30/2018 - 16:38

It occurs to me that “Onhava” is a near-anagram, or one word-golf move, of “Avalon”, the mystical Isle of Arthurian legend.


Avalon was the home of Merlin and Morgan La Fay – a misty land of enchantment.


I am not terribly familiar with the Arthurian lore, but the sword in the stone and the grail legend fit the “Hero’s Journey” quest that is suggested in Pale Fire. There seem to be other parallels, e.g. Hazel and “The Lady of the Lake”.


Scott’s “Lady of the Lake” is not the Arthurian tale, but I just found out that Tennyson wrote a long Arthurian poem, “Idylls of the King” wherein the story of the lady of the lake and Merlin is told. The lady, who is actually a nymph has an affaire with Merlin, whom she eventually tricks and seals in a tree. Her name is “Vivian”. That makes me think of “Vivian Bloodmark” or “Calmbrood”. Merlin, of course, is a magician, a conjuror and an alchemist.


I’m wondering if has been noted before or if there are any other allusions or associations that anyone is aware of? Thanks

I just discovered a possible “Arthurian” allusion in PF.  Curiously, I wasn’t looking for it. I was reading Mary McCarthy’s Bolt from the Blue and she writes, “Prospero of The Tempest pops in and out of the commentary, like a Fata Morgana, to mislead the reader…”) I wasn’t sure what “Fata Morgana” was, but thought it must relate to Morgan Le Fay, and it does:


Morgan Le Fay was the sorceress of Avalon. “Fay” means “fairy”. She was sometimes portrayed as a helper to King Arthur and sometimes as an antagonist.  This makes her a perfect description of what Jung termed the “anima”.


The term “fata morgana” means “mirage” or “apparition” and was originally used to describe a type of cloud formation over the Strait of Messina in Italy that resembles elaborate castles – like the fairy enchanting castle of Avalon.


Onhava is where Kinbote has made his “castle in the air”.