Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023579, Fri, 11 Jan 2013 18:51:31 +0000

Re: sanastoria, Aqua's nusshaus
Just in case some readers shared my brief confusion with the quoted mix of
scripts in
Nuss heisst deutsch орех
The last word is Cyrillic (the Russian for “nut” [botanical]), “which the
Germans call [die] Nuss.”
The English words “nut/nuts/nutty” have many informal flavours, but “nut
case” and “nuthouse” point unambiguously to “madness,” as explained in BB’s
canonical annotations:
7.15: nusshaus: Aqua's jocular German for "nuthouse." This is Aqua's "first
bout with insanity" (20.11). MOTIF: insanity.

“Nut case/nuthouse” are extremely derogatory, but the search for euphemistic
disabilities (aka political correctness) is endless and controversial, as
Nabokov was clearly aware. (Although his “nates” for “buttocks/bum/arse”
still jars on my Brit ears!) “Looney/Looney-bin” are definitely taboo, while
“Lunatic/Lunatic Asylum” are now avoided, as are “mentally-deficient [or
just plain “mental”]/mental asylum/institution.”

But such are the quirks of language ... One can even admire Aqua’s (via VN!)
“nusshaus” as brave, self-depreciating humour.

A sad coincidence: my mother, nee Ada (pronounced \ay-da\) Gallagher, spent
many years in “Rainhill,” near Liverpool, leaving me sensitive to such
usages. Originally (1851) it was Lancashire County Lunatic Asylum, Rainhill
but in 1948 became Rainhill Mental Hospital. This softened the blow
somewhat, but “Rainhill” itself carried that “stigma” as painfully as “yer
mam’s in de Looney-bin.”
Stan Kelly-Bootle.

On 11/01/2013 15:31, "Alexey Sklyarenko" <skylark1970@mail.ru> wrote:

> in the park of the Hotel Florey, or in the garden of the sanatorium near it
> ('my nusshaus,' as poor Aqua dubbed it, or 'the Home,' as Marina more demurely
> identified it in her locality notes) (Ada, 1.1)
> Still later, on the last short lap of a useless existence, Aqua scrapped all
> those ambiguous recollections and found herself reading and rereading busily,
> blissfully, her son's letters in a luxurious 'sanastoria' at Centaur,
> Arizona... The astorium in St Taurus, or whatever it was called (who cares -
> one forgets little things very fast, when afloat in infinite non-thingness)...
> (1.3)
> In Aldanov's Begstvo (The Escape, 1930) there is an ancient German pun on nu-s
> (Russ., "come on!"), and a comparison of the Peter-and-Paul Fortress (where a
> character is imprisoned) in St. Petersburg to a sanatorium or hotel:
> - Вы сказали "билеты и все прочее". Что такое "все прочее"? Ну-с?
> - Nuss heisst deutsch орех... Теперь уже разрешаются немецкие каламбуры. (Part
> One, chapter VI)
> Что ж, арестовали, не беда, скоро выпустят... И спал прекрасно... Да это
> санаторию выстроил царь Петр Алексеевич", - подумал, сладостно зевая, Николай
> Петрович и сам удивился шутливому тону своей мысли. (Part One, chapter XI)
> На стене висела бумага: "О порядке содержания заключенных в Трубецком
> бастионе". Николай Петрович внимательно ее прочел, все удивляясь новой
> орфографии. Инструкция была составлена в либеральном духе и предоставляла
> заключенным немало льгот. "Совсем как в гостиницах правила, вот только не на
> четырех языках". Аналогия между Трубецким бастионом и гостиницей или
> санаторией забавляла Николая Петровича (Ibid.)
> In his old age general Ivan Aleksandrovich Nabokov (the brother of VN's
> great-grandfather Nikolay Nabokov) was the commander of the Peter-and-Paul
> Fortress where (in 1849) one of his prisoners was the writer Dostoevski,
> author of The Double, etc., to whom the kind general lent books. (Speak,
> Memory, Chapter Three, 1) According to Ayhenvald (The Silhouettes of Russian
> Writers), "Dostoevski is the only author who wrote after he had seen the world
> and heard his soul from the elevation of scaffold [s vysoty eshafota]."*
> The details of the L disaster (and I do not mean Elevated) in the beau milieu
> of last century, which had the singular effect of both causing and cursing the
> notion of 'Terra,' are too well-known historically, and too obscene
> spiritually... (1.3)
> Aqua and her twin sister Marina are daughters of General Ivan Durmanov,
> Commander of Yukon Fortress. (1.1)
> Astoria is a luxurious hotel in St. Petersburg, in the Bolshaya Morskaya
> street. VN was born (on April 23, 1899) in the Nabokov house, B. Morskaya
> street, 47.
> *The mock execution of Dostoevski and other Petrashevskians took place on
> December 22, 1849 (January 3, 1850, New Style). January 3 is Lucette's
> birthday. Dostoevski was arrested on April 23, 1849. On April 23, 1869, Aqua
> married Demon Veen (Van's and Ada's father).
> Alexey Sklyarenko

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