Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024182, Tue, 7 May 2013 21:30:49 +0000

Re: ginkgo and butterfly - correction
Thanks, Jansy, for the overtones of écu, new to innocent me.


On 8/05/2013, at 12:03 AM, Jansy <jansy@AETERN.US<mailto:jansy@AETERN.US>>

Brian Boyd: "Steve, you need not have agonized. Just go to the Library of America notes, note to 502.4-5, where you can read: "Nabokov noted for his French translators: 'Two hundred years ago collectors spread butterflies thus' and made a drawing of butterflies with forewing pulled back under the hindwing, making an outline very like a ginkgo leaf."[ ] In general, I do hope people (including the energetic Matthew and Jansy) remember that these cheap editions, with their carefully edited texts and modest notes, are available. And my notes to Ada are online and free. We put a lot of work into these notes so that other people can reserve their energies for filling in the gaps we leave or for higher-level problem-solving."

Jansy Mello: My access to books and articles about Nabokov is severly restricted by economic and geographic limitations. Ada online is a precious source of information for me but, quite often, I like to puzzle things out by myself and then share it with other curious persons that are versed in Nabokov.
For example, your documented explanation about John Shade's lines about the Gingko, excludes a risky metaphorical reading (the poem refers to the poem Pale Fire with its irregular butterfly-shape and the employ of heroic couplets), plus various other explorations.

Here is another example from ADA,the
"...spreading Chinese tree at the end of the platform. Once, vaguely, confused with the Venus’-hair fern. She walked to the end of the platform in Tolstoy’s novel. First exponent of the inner monologue, later exploited by the French and the Irish. N’est vert, n’est vert, n’est vert. L’arbre aux quarante écus d’or, at least in the fall. Never, never shall I hear again her ‘botanical’ voice fall at biloba, ‘sorry, my Latin is showing.’ Ginkgo, gingko, ink, inkog. Known also as Salisbury’s adiantofolia, Ada’s infolio, poor Salisburia: sunk; poor Stream of Consciousness, marée noire by now. Who wants Ardis Hall!"

Now, only attentive readers realize by themselves the trap hidden in Van's Stream of Consciousness by which the Gingko became an "adiantofolia" (right at the start he warns us that the gingko was:"once,vaguely, confused with the Venus'-hair fern". The Adiantofolia is a fern).
Internet sources reveal that the designation "Maidenhair fern - Adiantum capillus veneris" is derived from its hairy root system, something that is typical of ferns and not of the Gingko trees's roots.

There are also funny circular connections that I think would surprise even Nabokov. The gingko, or "Maidenhair tree," is also known as "l'arbre aux quarante écus d'or" (as VN points out) and "ecus" are not only widely used in Europe now (ie: ECU = European Currency Unit), but one of the meanings of the word in French is applicable, besides ancient coins, shields, heraldry and crowns, to "pilosité pubienne". It's the same in English. For "ecu": we get "escutcheons," also applied to "pubic hair" (in general). Isn't that a very unexpected twist back to "maidenhair" and "capillus veneris"?

But, sure, these adventures are all a waste of time concerning "higher-level problem-solving". ( I don't think Nabokov would mind that)....

Google Search the archive<http://www.google.com/advanced_search?q=site:listserv.ucsb.edu&HL=en> Contact the Editors<mailto:nabokv-l@utk.edu,nabokv-l@holycross.edu> Visit "Nabokov Online Journal"<http://www.nabokovonline.com> Visit Zembla<http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/zembla.htm> View Nabokv-L Policies<http://web.utk.edu/~sblackwe/EDNote.htm> Manage subscription options<http://listserv.ucsb.edu/> Visit AdaOnline<http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/> View NSJ Ada Annotations<http://vnjapan.org/main/ada/index.html> Temporary L-Soft Search the archive<https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A0=NABOKV-L&X=58B9943B29972AFF64&Y=nabokv-l%40utk.edu>
All private editorial communications are read by both co-editors.

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/