Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023668, Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:40:40 -0200

Re: THOUGHTS: PF & Symonds' Italian History
Re: [NABOKV-L] AdaMatt Roth: "Back in 2008 I noted VN's refiguring, in PF, of a passage from Symonds' Renaissance in Italy: The Age of Despots:[https://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A2=nabokv-l;1cfd3e5f.0811] ...I have now done some more reading... and I feel fairly certain that the following passages are connected also.
PF: (n. 62): "Everybody knows how given to regicide Zemblans are: two Queens, three Kings, and fourteen Pretenders died violent deaths, strangled, stabbed, poisoned, and drowned, in the course of only one century (1700-1800)" (95).
Symonds: "No one believed in the natural death of a prince: princes must be poisoned or poignarded. Out of thirteen of the Carrara family, in little more than a century (1318-1435) three were deposed or murdered by near relatives, one was expelled by a rival from his state, four were executed the Venetians. Out of five of the La Scala family, three were killed by their brothers, and a fourth was poisoned in exile (120)."

Victor Fet: An interesting early (1665) meaning of 'bodkin' (not discussed previously as far as I recall) leads to Newton and color perception self-mutilation... ""Scientists occasionally conduct experiments on themselves. Among the most famous was Isaac Newton's extraordinary method for probing the nature of colour. He stuck a bodkin, a long sewing needle with a blunt point, into his eye socket, between eye and bone, and recorded seeing coloured circles and other visual phenomena."
Jansy Mello: The two wonderful postings, by M.Roth and V.Fet, made me connect the two words: poignard and bodkin. In fact, they are related! Here is what I gleaned by googling: ( I underlined them )

poignard (n.)
bodkin, dagger, dirk, knife, poniard

bodkin /'b?dk?n/

English definition | English synonyms | in Spanish | conjugator | in context | images
WordReference English-French Dictionary © 2013:

bodkin n(clothing: pointed tool for making holes in cloth or leather)grosse aiguille nf
bodkin n(blunt needle for threading ribbon through holes)passe-lacet nm
bodkin n(medieval dagger)poignard nm

bodkin (dagger)
Definition:a dagger with a slender blade
Class:artifact noun (man-made objects)
Type of:dagger » knife » weapon system » instrument
Original source:Princeton WordNet
Etymology:boydekin, of unknown origin. The ending suggests a diminutive form, and Celtic...
(Source: Online Etymology) [more]

There's another interesting fact, brought up by wikipedia, in relation to Charlotte Coday
Poignard: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Poignard, or poniard, (Fr.), refers to a long, lightweight thrusting knife with a continuously tapering, acutely pointed blade and crossguard, historically worn by the upper class, noblemen, or the knighthood. Similar in design to a parrying dagger, the poignard emerged during the Middle Ages and was used during the Renaissance in Western Europe, particularly in France, Switzerland, and Italy [...] In modern French, the term poignard has come to be defined as synonymous with dague, the general term for "dagger", and in English the term poignard or poniard has gradually evolved into a term for any small, slender dagger.
Jean-Paul Marat was murdered in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday, a Girondist sympathize, with a poignard during the French Revolution.

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