Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0027010, Sun, 22 May 2016 11:58:37 -0300

RES: [NABOKV-L] Rack's dental problems
PS to: When A.S brought up the associations to the word "arethusoides" he
mentioned a water nymph named Arethusa and he also added information about
butterflies and orchids. I can now offer another tidbit related to Rack
thanks to his initial diligence: According to a few sources the "
<http://www.henriettes-herb.com/plants/arethusa/bulbosa.html> Arethusa
bulbosa's bruised bulbs (are) useful for the tooth ache, and in cataplasms
for tumors. [ Cf. Schoepf" and
<http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/rafinesque/index.html> Medical
Flora, or Manual of the Medical Botany of the United States of North
America, Vol. 2, 1830, written by C. S. Rafinesque." // Data on this kind of
medical application for the orchid's crushed bulbs could have been part of
VN's knowledge about orchids - and he was, most certainly, equally aware of
the mythological Arethusa. If these elements inspired him to compound Dr.
Fitzbishop's explanation for Philip Rack's afflictions, he must have juggled
with their almost hidden associations to dental problems and, therefore,
they must carry no further connections to the plot. He'd be playing like
Van, perhaps, who saw himself as "ein unverbesserlicher Witzbold."

J.M: The links to the information I sent unfortunately didn't refer to the
medicinal use of the "Arethusa" (significantly named: Dragon's Mouth, Swamp
Pink, Bog Rose...). Here are two new ones:

Common Name Dragon's Mouth - Swamp Pink - Bog Rose. Found in North America
south to South Carolina in wet acid meadows in mosses with subterranean
corm-like bulbs carrying grass-like, linear-lanceolate leaves that blooms in
the late spring and early summer on a terminal, thin, erect inflorescence
carrying a solitary, fragrant flower and is a cold growing, water loving
terrestrial./ In recent times this orchid has been used as a treatment for


According to <http://www.botany.wisc.edu/orchids/References.html#Luer> Luer
(1975), early americans used the corms of Arethusa as a remedy for

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