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May 1, 2011


Doug Henning

And a "gori v adu" to you, Dr. Smith, for forcing me to fritter my workday away reading "Ada, or Ardor" online at ADAonline (http://www.ada.auckland.ac.nz/). Now I'm well behind thanks to your trenchant analysis and recommendation of Nabokov's profoundly pulchritudinous polyglot prose.

Oh, the pain!

John Cowan

You are confusing transliteration, which is reversible and arbitrary, with transcription, which is language-specific. There are German, French, and English transcriptions of Russian that use (more or less) the conventions of German, French, and English; but the ISO-9/GOST system of transliteration is neither German, French, nor English, but purely a system whereby each Cyrillic letter (whether used in Russian or not) is given a precise Latin-script equivalent.

Doug M.

Quoting my friend Carlos Yu:

"John Updike made the same mistake in reviewing Nabokov's Ada, claiming the great swoony love in the book was based on the relationship between Nabokov and his wife. Since the great swoony love in the book was between two horrible horrible people, Nabokov took offense."

('Same mistake' here refers to the Andrew Field biography of Nabokov, which apparently made some large and, it turned out, incorrect assumptions about the author's intent. I've heard that the later Boyd biography did better.)

Doug M.


"he was a bit of a pervert". Now THAT is a relevant comment !!

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