" If Lolita's eyes are "vair" or "gray" and related
to a "columbine shade," then Nabokov's choice for Lolita's eye-color might also
be indicating the commedia del'arte's love triangle."
We know that all colors delight Shade, even grey,
and that one of the names assumed by Gradus is Jacques de Grey or
James de Gray.
We haven't yet asked it this color indicates "a
The word in Russian (siziy), by its imagined resonance,
helped me to realize that, in Portuguese, we don't have an independent word
to describe "gray" or "gris," since the term we use is descriptive, as in "ashen
colored" or "like ash" ( ie, we say "cinzento" and "cinza": would "siziy"
in Russian also relate to cinederella's cindery ashes?)
In English you have various options to refer to grey. Leaden
or plumbeous, for example. In this case, as in the "columbine shade," there
is a hint of an opaque blueness in it which, I think, is absent from
the merely grey, colorless ashes themselves.
Are the baroque Nabospeek, Bakhtin's rabelaisian
carnival, the Italian commedia, the Russian balagan, indicated
by the name "Gradus"?