Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023763, Wed, 13 Mar 2013 23:21:19 -0300

Re: Percy de Prey
C. Kunin: Not sure to what Jansy refers - but could it be St Elmo's fire? Do not recall who St Elmo was but the fire referred to is an electrical phenomenon at sea. Like lightning, St Elmo's fire is attracted to ship's masts and takes the form of dancing lights playing about the ship's masts. It is referred to in Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner. If it is to be found in a Wagnerian opera, my guess would be Der Fliegender Hollander (der Hollander I have just learned refers not to the captain, but to the ship itself).

Jansy Mello: I was referring to "Tannhäuser" not to "The Flying Dutchman". According to legend the pilgrim's staff sprouted new leaves as a signal that he'd been pardoned. There was no St Elmo but an "elm" and a St.Zeus, in ADA. "Elmo" also indicates a knight's helmet in Italian. I wonder why Aqua's confusion mingled "elm" and "elmo" (later on the correction is between an elm and an oak tree, or an uncle and a father...).

btw:There are interesting associations bt. St Elmo's fire, one of the twin stars, namely Castor (Beaver), and PF's "moving lights"

ADA: "stop that record, or the guide will go on demonstrating as he did this very morning in Florence a silly pillar commemorating, he said, the ‘elmo’ that broke into leaf when they carried stone-heavy-dead St Zeus by it through the gradual, gradual shade; or the Arlington harridan talking incessantly to her silent husband..."

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