Ian Leader-Elliott "Diana is delicate rather than obtuse, I suspect, in her explanation of 'orchideous'.*

Jansy Mello:  How curious, in “Lolita” V.Nabokov didn’t find it necessary to explain his pun to obtuse readers but, in ADA, he gratuitously mentions twice the strict meaning of “orchid”  

Alas, the testibulus (test tube — never to be confused with testiculus, orchid) and in the notes on p.321. Knabenkräuter: Germ., orchids (and testicles).

There are various references and word games:

His nights in the hammock (where that other poor youth had cursed his blood cough and sunk back into dreams of prowling black spumas and a crash of symbols in an orchal orchestra — as suggested to him by career physicians) were now haunted not so much by the agony of his desire for Ada” **

but impatient young passion (brimming like Van’s overflowing bath while he is reworking this, a crotchety gray old wordman on the edge of a hotel bed) did not survive the first few blind thrusts; it burst at the lip of the orchid.

‘She’s terribly nervous, the poor kid,’ remarked Ada stretching across Van toward the Wipex. ‘You can order that breakfast now — unless... Oh, what a good sight! Orchids. I’ve never seen a man make such a speedy recovery.


The most delicate one, considering the summing up of his evaluation of Ernest Hemmingway (and why Chekhov?), in SO, is:

‘She likes,’ said Van, ‘what all our belles like — balls, orchids, and The Cherry Orchard.’ 


* -   "In discussing his jealous regarding other men, Humbert wrote, “Suddenly, all dimples, she beamed sweetly at them, as she never did at my orchideous masculinity.”

** p.61. horsecart: an old anagram. It leads here to a skit on Freudian dream charades (‘symbols in an orchal orchestra’) Cf.  (where a former summer guest, with an opera cloak over his clammy nightshirt, had awoken once because a stink bomb had burst among the instruments in the horsecart, and striking a match, Uncle Van had seen the bright blood blotching his pillow).

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