NABOKV-L post 0022003, Sat, 17 Sep 2011 11:29:33 -0300

Re: [Fwd: AdaOnline updates, especially images]
Brian Boyd: AdaOnline ( has been updated...Clicking on the images in sequence is a fascinating way of re-skimming the novel. And informative. I now have a much better sense of a "ha-ha," for instance, than I had from the dictionary definition alone. Happy browsing.

JM: Great fun and amply rewarding. I wish it were also available in an antiquated book form, like a "Nabokov Dictionary" with images, one can open even when the internet is down. I loved the image of an "ursine howler" and the link to apes, monkeys and Pushkin's "sapajou" thru Bunnry and Volodya. I'm certain that what B.Boyd mentioned about "a sense of a "ha-ha" is related to psychology, to eurekas and insights, not to Mansfield Park's ha-ha...

18.01: ha-ha: "A sunk fence; a fence, wall, or ditch, not visible till one is close upon it" (W2); "A boundary to a garden, pleasure-ground, or park, of such a kind as not to interrupt the view from within, and not to be seen till closely approached" (OED). A ha-ha features prominently in the description of Mansfield Park's Sotherton Court, whose topography Nabokov liked to impress on his students' minds with the help of a map that shows the ha-ha (LL 31). A pun, of course, on "ha-ha" as laughter, stressing the absurdity of transferring Russia across the ocean. The "ha" lost in the transformation of "sleight of hand" into "sleight of land" has been doubly repaid.

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors:,
Visit Zembla:
View Nabokv-L policies:
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:"

Manage subscription options: