Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0024641, Tue, 1 Oct 2013 14:23:35 +0000

Re: french terms in pale fire
Dear List

In response to Yigit Yavuz:

The meaning of both expressions is pretty clear I think, but I have some doubts as to whether one of the expressions is a VN coinage or a genuine French usage.

Feuilles d’alarme looks obvious from the context: a device to scare birds, made of some form of flat material that will move in the wind and glitter in the sun or make a noise - feuille meaning “leaf” or “sheet” (e.g. of paper).

But not a scarecrow - the normal French word for “scarecrow” being épouventail.

The obvious modern parallel would be CDs hung on a string, which twist in the wind and glitter.

There is also “effaroucheur” meaning something that scares away or frightens and I think this is used of the machine that makes loud bangs to scare away birds from airports.

My quick dictionary hunt has not, however, yielded feuilles d’alarme as an actual French usage. I wonder if it is a VN coinage?

Can a native French speaker help?

As for “Volant en arrière” – literally this should mean “flying backwards” – “volant” being the present participle of “voler” (= to fly) and “en arrière” meaning backwards.

“Volant” as a noun can also mean the steering wheel of a car, but the phrase would make no sense (“steering wheel to the rear”) if that was its meaning here.

“Voler” can also mean “to steal” but “stealing backwards” makes little sense either here.

A warning: French is not my first language, so please ensure that you get confirmation from someone who is a professed expert.

Barrie Akin

From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU] On Behalf Of Yigit Yavuz
Sent: 01 October 2013 13:11
Subject: [NABOKV-L] french terms in pale fire

Dear colleagues,

My Turkish traslation of Pale Fire will soon be published by Iletisim Publishing House in Istanbul.

I need your help for two expressions in French:
feuilles-d'alarme and volant en arrière.

"He claimed to have improved the glitter and rattle of the so-called feuilles-d'alarme used by grape growers and orchardmen to scare the birds."

"From far below mounted the clink and tinkle of distant masonry work, and a sudden train passed between gardens, and a heraldic butterfly volant en arrière, sable, a bend gules, traversed the stone parapet, and John Shade took a fresh card."

What explanations may be given as translator's notes?


Yiğit Yavuz
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/