Hi, I know this has been discussed already, but the sentence in Chapter 5 of Lolita has been bothering me:
"Here is Virgil who could the nymphet sing in single tone, but probably preferred a lad’s perineum."
I know the consensus is that the "single tone" here is a reference to Robert Corbet Singleton who translated Virgil into English, and I would've been satisfied with that if it weren't for Nabokov's Russian translation:
"Вот Виргилий, который (цитирую старого английского поэта) «нимфетку в тоне пел одном», хотя по всей вероятности предпочитал перитон мальчика."
[~Here is Virgil, who (I'm quoting an old English poet) "could the nymphet sing in single tone"...]
So I'm wondering if this is some next level trickery like the beginning of Ada with the wrong translation of Tolstoy - in which case he's probably referring to Singleton being an old English poet for having translated Virgil - or is it actually a reference to someone else entirely, an actual English poet?
(It may be important to note that in his translation he does distinguish between "American" and "English" so it's not like he's thinking about a poet "writing in English")