NABOKV-L post 0022130, Sun, 30 Oct 2011 17:51:25 +0300

Leonid Barbashin is a character (the murderer who never turns up*) in VN's play "Sobytie" ("The Event").

Barbashin comes from Barbash. In Herzen's novel "Kto vinovat?" ("Who is to Blame?") there is one Emel'ka Barbash (Part One, chapter 2).

Emel'ka Barbash is a namesake of Emel'yan Pugachyov, the leader of the Cossack insurrection (1773-75) whom Pushkin, the author of "The History of Pugachyov" (1834) used to call Pugach. Pugach (toy gun) and Pugachyov come from pugat' (to frighten, scare).

Leo Tolstoy famously said of the playwright and short story writer Leonid Andreev (1871-1919): On pugaet, a mne ne strashno ("He frightens me, but I'm not scared"). On the other hand, in a letter to Strakhov (Strakhov comes from strakh, "fear;" in his review of VN's play Khodasevich says that its title could have been "Strakh") Tolstoy mentions the murder of Suvorin's wife by her lover who committed suicide and exclaims: "kakoe znamenatel'noe sobytie!" ("what a significant event!")

*as Revshin suggests (Act One), Barbashin ne tak uzh strashen (Barbashin is not that terrible)

Alexey Sklyarenko

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