Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025921, Thu, 1 Jan 2015 20:32:50 -0200

RES: [NABOKV-L] Elm, Lime, Oak and Nostalgia

Correction to former posting!

It applies to this part ( I underlined the mistake):

“Sisters, mountains and a great oak are “one of the leitmotivs” of Ada. Darkbloom doesn’t add “nostalgia” to it… I found a note, by Brian Boyd, that refers to it as “a personal motif”, emphasizing the importance of intonation:

<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/ada18.htm#50.06> 50.06: and the mountain, and the great oak: An echo of l. 26 (“Et ma montagne, et le grand chêne,” “And my mountain, and the great oak”) of <http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/308chateaubriand.htm> Chateaubriand’s “Romance à Hélène” [snip]which will become a personal motif for Van and Ada later in the summer[snip]. The “and . . . and . . . ” intonation--apparently derived from Chateaubriand’s poem-- served Nabokov as a personal stylistic sign of memorial attachment, of retrospective enumeration and delectation, throughout his work, even more in Russian (“i . . . i . . . “) than in English.”
The differentiation of elm and oak can be found in Ada, ch.8: “ By then they had reached the rond-point[snip] The teil is the flying Italian lady, and the old oak aches, the old lover aches, but still catches her every time’ (impossible to reproduce the right intonation while rendering the entire sense…[ ]The elm is curiously referred to, by Ada, as a “teil” (tilleul, Linden tree, lime).”

Ada referred to the teil meaning tilleul, lime, linden tree and there’s no indication of an “elm” (thanks to Steve Blackwell for pointing this out to me off list). My only excuse for having made the actual confusion may derive from a brief information in a wikipedia note: “Latin tilia is cognate to Greek πτελέᾱ, ptelea, " <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elm_tree> elm tree", τιλίαι, tiliai, " <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_poplar> black poplar" ( <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesychius_of_Alexandria> Hes.), ultimately from a <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo-European_language> Proto-Indo-European word *ptel-ei̯ā with a meaning of "broad" (feminine); perhaps "broad-leaved" or similar.”


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