Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024458, Fri, 9 Aug 2013 13:26:28 -0300

{QUERY] Viedma and Patagonia
Dear Listlers,

In one of my old photo-archives I found an image of the southern tip of the Americas, with the city of "Viedma" marked in broad types. I must have selected this picture in the past, while checking the translation Viedma/Witch in Nabokov's "Ada, or Ardor." ( I cannot give a precise reference to it now)

In this novel Van mentions his oneiric travel plans and describes how a "New World Express" would carry him from Manhattan to Brazilia and Witch, later splitting in two directions, one of them leading to Patagonia and Captain Grant's Horn. The latter may be linked to other references to Jules Verne's travels around the world and to Captain Grant's children (?)
There are sound-plays with "agon" and "gul" in Agony, Patagonia, Angola, Gululu and, perhaps, an incomplete link between Brazilia (related to Terra's geography) and Bras d'Or (isn't it in Antiterra?)
Some of them might be related to Russian settlements and to nautical expeditions.
Are there hidden political implications that I'm missing?

Antiterra's imperial expanse could be somehow (parodically) related to the paragraphs VN isolated from Gogol's almost delirious writings exalting his speedy Rus?*.

1. Viedma and Patagonia: "He decided that after completing his medical studies ...he would undertake long travels in South America, Africa, India. [ ] he had studied with a poet's passion the time-table of three great American transcontinental trains that one day he would take ...From Manhattan, via Mephisto, El Paso, Meksikansk and the Panama Chunnel, the dark-red New World Express reached Brazilia and Witch (or Viedma, founded by a Russian admiral). There it split into two parts, the eastern one continuing to Grant's Horn, and the western returning north through Valparaiso and Bogota." .

2. Patagonia: "Take the fastest flying machine you can rent straight to El Paso, your Ada will be waiting for you there...we'll continue, by the New World Express, in a suite I'll obtain, to the burning tip of Patagonia, Captain Grant's Horn, a Villa in Verna, my jewel, my agony."..

" would she prefer to go abroad for a couple of months - anywhere, Patagonia, Angola, Gululu in the New Zealand mountains?"

"L.F.T. tiny dolls, L.F.T. breloques of coral and ivory, appeared in souvenir shops, from Agony, Patagonia, to Wrinkleballs, Le Bras d'Or..."

"Rus, are you not similar in your headlong motion to one of those nimble troikas that none can overtake?...Rus, whether are you spreading so? Answer me..." (Lectures on Russian Literature, F.Bowers, harvest book, p.38-39 - and others!)

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