Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025376, Mon, 5 May 2014 00:05:11 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] illustrated vocabulary with quotes

Ian Leader-Elliott "Diana is delicate rather than obtuse, I suspect, in her
explanation of 'orchideous'.”*

Jansy Mello: How curious, in “Lolita” V.Nabokov didn’t find it necessary to
explain his ‘pun’ to obtuse readers but, in ADA, he gratuitously mentions
twice the strict meaning of “orchid” …
“Alas, the testibulus (test tube — never to be confused with testiculus,
orchid)” and in the notes on p.321. “Knabenkräuter: Germ., orchids (and

There are various references and word games:

“His nights in the hammock (where that other poor youth had cursed his blood
cough and sunk back into dreams of prowling black spumas and a crash of
symbols in an orchal orchestra — as suggested to him by career physicians)
were now haunted not so much by the agony of his desire for Ada” **

“ but impatient young passion (brimming like Van’s overflowing bath while he
is reworking this, a crotchety gray old wordman on the edge of a hotel bed)
did not survive the first few blind thrusts; it burst at the lip of the

“ ‘She’s terribly nervous, the poor kid,’ remarked Ada stretching across Van
toward the Wipex. ‘You can order that breakfast now — unless... Oh, what a
good sight! Orchids. I’ve never seen a man make such a speedy recovery.’ “

The most delicate one, considering the summing up of his evaluation of
Ernest Hemmingway (and why Chekhov?), in SO, is:

“ ‘She likes,’ said Van, ‘what all our belles like — balls, orchids, and The
Cherry Orchard.’ “


* - "In discussing his jealous regarding other men, Humbert wrote,
“Suddenly, all dimples, she beamed sweetly at them, as she never did at my
orchideous masculinity.”

** p.61. horsecart: an old anagram. It leads here to a skit on Freudian
dream charades (‘symbols in an orchal orchestra’) Cf. “(where a former
summer guest, with an opera cloak over his clammy nightshirt, had awoken
once because a stink bomb had burst among the instruments in the horsecart,
and striking a match, Uncle Van had seen the bright blood blotching his

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