NABOKV-L post 0024852, Sat, 30 Nov 2013 12:06:19 -0200

Re: Sighting & Quiz
C. Kunin I: Thanks to A. Bouazza and to Jansy Mello who both win prizes. Now what shall it be? [ ] Dali and Rockwell twins - who'd a thunk it? VN!
C.Kunin II: Thanks for the "nutritive" reference. What should the linguist have said? how does one say "to feed the cat" in french? je donne a manger a mon chat.[ ] I love the fact that in German there are separate verbs for "to eat" for humans (essen) and for animals (fressen). By the way, se nourrir means to eat. I had to look it up. Despite what Frogs think, French is no more rational than English. [ ] But the reference to Lafontaine - how do you understand it. Clearly Shade refers to "la fourmi et la cigale" the latter of which appears elsewhere in the poem. In Lafontaine (and Aesop) the aunt - woops, I mean ant - i.e. "the mandible" lives while the singer, the grasshopper, is left to beg or die. So VN reverses the order, but what has that to do with the nice Englishman?
Mary Efremov I: "nobody should forget VN studied art, immersed in it, parents were knowledgable collectors.... so there is a deep connection even w/o this reference from pnin."
Mary Efremov II: " of course there are rules for translation, languages differ, ukrainian an italian are easy from one to another, ineffable problems with rich pigmented russian into english, and vice versa and yet english is rich, voluble, multi-textured and liquid but what challenges.....all i ever managed was dull chemical prose from russian to english."

Jansy Mello: Abdel's precise quick answer informs where the quote ( from Pnin) is to be found. Let him alone get the laurels and prize. In relation to "essen & fressen", "manger & nourrir" I've nothing to say because I lack the necessary abilities with the German or the French (why do you and Mary Efremov write "English" or "French" with no capital letters?).

One of my favorite dishes desserts pops up, in a totally uncalled for manner, when I follow John Shade's lines about a "white mountain" since I cannot avoid associating it to the Swiss "Mont Blanc" (nor to the white capped fountain-pen...or should I say mountain-pen? Did VN think about that possible hidden association qua "mountain/fountain"?)

It seemed to be related to active "manger" (not to passive "nourris") but, curiously enough, not only its etymology is uncertain, but the term's variations in different languages spreads out in various directions. Here I mean what you call "Blancmange"* In Portuguese and in Spanish the sound for "mange" became "manjar" (any kind of "dainty dish" or "delicacy").

The strands of multilingual associations are, in some cases, unavoidable and lead to terrible misunderstandings. When I read VN's appraisal of a Springfield guide [ "Nabokov included Kneale in a list of “aberations of homo saps and homo sapiens” that he collected on his lecture tour through the U.S. that fall."] I surmised he was refering to what you often mention: "a frog" ("sapo"). Then I decided to check it with the google and here comes my favourite entry - since it's closer to VN's spirit: " 'Homo Saps' by Eric Frank Russell is a classically simple short story of science fiction. As with anything so short, I can't say much without giving away the plot. Camels on Mars, a trio of men conducting a camel caravan across Martian desert: a memorable glimpse through the sardonic prism of Russell's imagination."

However, Carolyn, why encourage us to do the readings for you? The La Fontaine (or Lafontaine) story has been amply discussed at the VN-L, and elsewhere. Why bring it up again if you add no special information related to it?
The "nice Englishman" may have mistaken "seagulls" and "cigales" but his sentence is surprisingly (!) correct ("Je nourris...")

* The "whitedish" (from the original Old French term blanc mangier) was an upper-class dish common to most of Europe during the Middle Ages and early modern period. It occurs in countless variations from recipe collections from all over Europe and is mentioned in the prologue to Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and in an early 15th-century cookbook written by the chefs of Richard II.
English: blancmanger, blankmanger, blank maunger, blomanger, blamang
Catalan: menjar blanch, menjar blanc, menjablanc
Portuguese: manjar branco
Italian: mangiare bianco, blanmangieri, bramangere
Spanish: manjar blanco
Dutch/Flemish: blanc mengier
German: blamensir
Latin: albus cibus, esus albus
Though it is fairly certain that the etymology is indeed "white dish", medieval sources are not always consistent as to the actual colour of the dish. Food scholar Terence Scully has proposed the alternative etymology of bland mangier, "bland dish", reflecting its often mild and "dainty" (in this context meaning refined and aristocratic) taste and popularity as a sick dish.

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