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

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Re: [Fwd: AdaOnline updates, especially images]
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Brian Boyd: AdaOnline (http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/) 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.

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