Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025337, Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:51:04 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] viola/viol/vial/phial . . .
Victor Fet: ”Fialta, an Adriatic resort whose name is a blend of Fiume and Yalta”* As we celebrate birthdays of both VN and The Bard, don’t forget Viola and Sebastian who were shipwrecked off the Adriatic shore (Illyria). Yalta, and Crimea in general form the most important episode of VN’s youth – his first entomological publication, his last shrunken piece of free Russia, now again part of Tartary.

Didier Machu: The pun (is it merely a pun?) on vial and violet certainly came easily to VN's mind, witness the "vial of violet-blue capsules banded with dark purple" Humbert is prescribed by Dr. Byron (the next doctor he faces is Dr. Blue): "the pill vial" containing "Papa's Purple Pills" Humbert, of course, is to produce before Lolita (his own "ultraviolet darling") and experiment on her.
Didier Machu

Jansy Mello: Hello, Victor.

I was checking the etymology of “viol” (English and French), related to rape, violation,violence, connected to Didier Machu’s references to “the pill vial” in “Lolita.” Through the Online Etymology Dictionary I was led to Venus! Now it can be extended, also, to political matters and to human rights. (thanks for the information about the bard, Adriatic shores, Crimea**.

Experience has taught me that V.Nabokov practices what I can only design now as “violettres”, i.e, the attribution of a specific individual meaning to a word glued to its proper context while retaining, at the same time, the shadows of positive and negative associations that may be related to it…

Here is what I found on a quick search:
Violence (n.):late 13c., "physical force used to inflict injury or damage," from Anglo-French and Old French violence (13c.), from Latin violentia "vehemence, impetuosity," fromviolentus "vehement, forcible," probably related to violare (see violation). Weakened sense of "improper treatment" is attested from 1590s.
violation (n.): c.1400, from Old French violacion and directly from Latin violationem (nominative violatio) "an injury, irreverence, profanation," from past participle stem of violare "to treat with violence, outrage, dishonor," perhaps an irregular derivative of vis "strength, force, power, energy," from PIE root *weie- "to go after, pursue with vigor or desire," with noun derivatives meaning "force, desire" (see venison).
venison (n.): c.1300, from Old French venesoun "meat of large game," especially deer or boar, also "a hunt," from Latin venationem (nominative venatio) "a hunt, hunting, the chase," also "game as the product of the hunt," from venatus, past participle of venari "to hunt, pursue," probably from PIE *wen-a-, from root *wen- (1) "to strive for, desire" (see Venus).
Venus : late Old English, from Latin Venus (plural veneres), in ancient Roman mythology, the goddess of beauty and love, especially sensual love, from venus "love, sexual desire; loveliness, beauty, charm; a beloved object," from PIE root *wen- (1) "to strive after, wish, desire" (cognates: Sanskrit veti "follows after," vanas- "desire," vanati"desires, loves, wins;" Avestan vanaiti "he wishes, is victorious," vayeiti "hunts;" Lithuanian veju "to hunt, pursue;" Old Church Slavonic voji "warrior;" Old English waþ"hunting," wynn "joy," wunian "to dwell," wenian "to accustom, train, wean," wyscan "to wish;" Old Norse veiðr "chase, hunting, fishing"). Applied by the Romans to Greek Aphrodite, Egyptian Hathor, etc. Applied in English to any beautiful, attractive woman by 1570s. As the name of the most brilliant planet from late 13c., from this sense in Latin (Old English called itmorgensteorra and æfensteorra). The venus fly-trap (Dionæa muscipula) was discovered 1760 by Gov. Arthur Dobbs in North Carolina and description sent to Collinson in England. The Central Atlantic Coast Algonquian name for the plant, /titipiwitshik/, yielded regional American English tippity wichity.

* <http://www.cnrtl.fr/etymologie/viol> VIOL, subst. masc.

Étymol. et Hist. 1. 1647 « violences faites à une femme » (Vaug., p. 413: viol, qui se dit dans la Cour et dans les armees pour violement, est tres-mauvais); 2. 1648 fig. viol de la foi publique (Scarron, Virgile Travesti, l. VI, éd. V. Fournel, p. 201b); 1875 les viols des lois (Sully Prudh., Vaines tendr., Le Rire, p. 237); 3. 1868 viol de son palais(Goncourt, Journal, p. 449); 1898 viol de leurs sépulcres (Coppée, loc. cit.). Déverbal de violer*.


* - …the Russian word “fialka” in Akiko Nakata’s article: “Fialta, an Adriatic resort whose name is a blend of Fiume and Yalta (Boyd Russian Yeas, 426), is associated with violets via fialka, the Russian word for violet (Lee 33, Parker 131). The first association of Fialta with violets occurs near the beginning of the story: "I am fond of Fialta […] because I feel in the hollow of those violaceous syllables the sweet dark dampness of the most rumpled of small flowers, and because the altolike name of a lovely Crimean town is echoed by its viola" (413, italics added). The adjectives "dark" and "small," used here to describe violets, are also used elsewhere to describe Nina: "I still wonder what exactly she meant to me, that small dark woman of the narrow shoulders and 'lyrical limbs' " (423). A Failed Reader Redeemed: "Spring in Fialta" and The Real Life of Sebastian Knight Akiko Nakata, Nagoya, Japan. Nabokov Studies, 11, 2007/2008.

**-Another quote, now from ADA & Crimea, related to “violations,” has always impressed me (how news were conveyed to Van while he found his father triumphantly reading a newspaper in front of a mirror) : At the Goodson Airport, in one of the gilt-framed mirrors of its old-fashioned waiting room, Van glimpsed the silk hat of his father who sat awaiting him in an armchair of imitation marblewood, behind a newspaper that said in reversed characters: ‘Crimea Capitulates.’ [ ] ‘Stocks,’ said Demon, ‘are on the zoom. Our territorial triumphs, et cetera. An American governor, my friend Bessborodko, is to be installed in Bessarabia, and a British one, Armborough, will rule Armenia. I saw you enlaced with your little Countess near the parking lot. If you marry her I will disinherit you. They’re quite a notch below our set.’[ ] Demon, flaunting his flair, desired to be told if Van or his poule had got into trouble with the police (nodding toward Jim or John who having some other delivery to make sat glancing through Crime Copulate Bessarmenia)./ ‘Poule,’ replied Van with the evasive taciturnity of the Roman rabbi shielding Barabbas./ ‘Why gray?’ asked Demon, alluding to Van’s overcoat. ‘Why that military cut? It’s too late to enlist.’/‘I couldn’t — my draft board would turn me down anyway.’ “

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors: mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu
Visit Zembla: http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm
View Nabokv-L policies: http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:" http://www.nabokovonline.com

Manage subscription options: http://listserv.ucsb.edu/