I think Jansy may have hit on a pun, a dig at spiritualism perhaps.

And how apropos that would be as I watched Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" last night on the net. And as it happened I was staying in a hotel on the English Riviera Coward was known to frequent! Totally by chance, I was looking at old snippets of the great Jessie Mathews (does anyone besides me remember her? our Liverpudlian perhaps - Stan?).

Anyway there was Dirk Bogarde reminiscing about the time he brought " mrs Lewis " back to her studio ... and there he was in the Coward play. Now I really am getting to a nabokovian connection here. Ruth Gordon steals the show as Mme Arkady, the medium, but who should play the materialised first wife, Elvira, but Rosemary Harris!

Now that may not ring any Russian bells for you my little dears, but it takes me back to the glorious production, best of my lifetime, of Uncle Vanya. Redgrave as Vanya, Joan Plowright as Sonia, Olivier as Astrov, Sybil Thorndyke as the old nurse ( oh she is a marvel), and guess who as the indolent wife of the antiquarian professor but Rosemary Harris herself!

If you don't recall it, and now that Dmitri has gone over to the "Dubonnet side", who besides Stan and myself were around in those days?, don't feel bad. At least some of it is on youtube. It's the Chichester production, not sure of the year, but it goes back to the fifties I shouldn't be surprised.

Of course it's in English, but I can't imagine a more Chekhovian interpretation. Stanislavsky would have been proud.


ps. If any of you are up for a hilarious limerick about a young lady of Chichester, please write me off List

From: Jansy Mello <jansy.nabokv-L@AETERN.US>;
Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] [SIGHTING] Enkrypted words and transparencies
Sent: Sun, Aug 18, 2013 2:45:31 AM

Carolyn Kunin on "Diablonnet": "Oh, I knew something rang a bell: Dubonnet!"
Jansy Mello: Perhaps someone will track down references to these various "spirits." Dubonnet, for one? There's also the Hennessy Cognac Bras d'Or .http://www.wine-searcher.com/wine-190372-0000-hennessy-bras-d-or-cognac-france  - where shall that road carry us to?
As for characters, I can only remember now John Shade and his secret drinking. Of course, there's Gradus (Vinograd=grape// Vinogradus) whose "whole clan" was on the "liquor business."
John Shade has a book of poems with the title Hebe's cup* (another added meaning related to "muscat grape"?) and, perhaps in ADA too, there's a reference to Ganymede** and, most certainly, to Dionysus.
Social drinking abounds in ADA, served with proficiency by Bouteillan, Bout and other butlers. 
There are strange links bt. Van and Vinelander by a reference to (VD's notes)p.402. cart de van: Amer., mispronunciation of carte des vins.  ( cf, "He demanded the ‘cart de van’ (affording the real Van mild amusement), but, being a hard-liquor man, cast only a stunned look at the ‘Swiss White’ page of the wine list before ‘passing the buck’ to Ada who promptly ordered champagne".)
* -

                                                  Dim Gulf was my first book (free verse); Night Rote

                                                  Came next; then Hebe’s Cup, my final float

                                                              In that damp carnival,
C.Kinbote writes: Many years ago Disa, our King’s Queen, whose favorite trees were the jacaranda and the maidenhair, copied out in her album a quatrain from John Shade’s collection of short poems Hebe’s Cup, which I cannot refrain from quoting here ...":


The Sacred Tree

The ginkgo leaf, in golden hue, when shed,

                                                          A muscat grape,

                                                          Is an old-fashioned butterfly, ill-spread,

                                                          In shape.

** -  A quick dip in wikipedia:
a. In Greek mythology, Ganymede...is a divine hero whose homeland was Troy. Homer describes Ganymede as the most beautiful of mortals. He was the son of Tros of Dardania, from whose name "Troy" was supposed to derive, and of Callirrhoe. His brothers were Ilus and Assaracus. In one version of the myth, he is abducted by Zeus, in the form of an eagle, to serve as cup-bearer in Olympus. The myth was a model for the Greek social custom of paiderastía, the socially acceptable erotic relationship between a man and a youth. The Latin form of the name was Catamitus, from which the English word "catamite" derives.
b. In Greek mythology, Hēbē ... is the goddess of youth... She is the daughter of Zeus and Hera. Hebe was the cupbearer for the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, serving their nectar and ambrosia, until she was married to Heracles... her successor was Zeus's lover Ganymede. Another title of hers, for this reason, is Ganymeda. .  .

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