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Stalking Nabokov$
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Brian Boyd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158572

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158572.001.0001

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Ada: The Bog and the Garden

Ada: The Bog and the Garden

Or, Straw, Fluff, and Peat: Sources and Places in Ada

(p.360) 25. Ada: The Bog and the Garden
Stalking Nabokov

Brain Boyd

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the precision of Vladimir Nabokov's allusions and patterns in Ada, along with their ethical, psychological, and epistemological implications. It discusses three unlikely pieces of fluff and straw, whose appeal lay partly in their unlikeliness and whose dates belong to the years immediately before Nabokov began writing Ada. In particular, it considers Nabokov's discovery of the Dutch meaning of “veen” and rediscovery of the Dutch surnames Veen and Van Veen in Double-Barrel, a 1964 detective novel by Nicolas Freeling, as well as his establishment of Van and Ada Veen as “children of Venus.” It also looks at the motif of peat, bog, marsh in the name of Villa Venus and especially in the Dutch name of the Veens. Finally, the chapter analyzes the doubling and imitation that pervade Ada and the way this complicates the novel's myths of love.

Keywords:   love, Vladimir Nabokov, allusions, patterns, Ada, novel, veen, peat, bog, marsh

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