NABOKV-L post 0022688, Sun, 8 Apr 2012 18:35:21 -0400

Re: Easter patterns in The Defence

Lhuzin never really grows up, does he? The three points in his life show him as having the same childishness.
Date: Sun, 8 Apr 2012 16:25:21 -0300
From: jansy@AETERN.US
Subject: [NABOKV-L] Easter patterns in The Defence

Three interconnected paschal episodes in Luzhin's life
(The Defence)

"Only in April, during the Easter holidays, did that
inevitable day come for Luzhin when the whole world suddenly went dark, as if
someone had thrown a switch, and in the darkness only one thing remained
brilliantly lit, a newborn wonder, a dazzling islet on which his whole life was
destined to be concentrated. The happiness onto which he fastened came to stay;
that April day froze forever, while somewhere else the movement of seasons, the
city spring, the country summer, continued in a different plane — dim currents
which barely affected him.//It began innocently... 'What are you doing
here?' he asked, spying Luzhin in the dark corner. 'My, my, how bad it is to
eavesdrop!'...A number of carved figures lay closely packed in the box...'What a
game, what a game,' said the violinist, tenderly closing the box. 'Combinations
like melodies. You know, I can simply hear the moves.' ...'The game of the gods.
Infinite possibilities.' // He had already put the light out when his
mother looked in and bent over him, the diamonds around her neck glinting in the
half-light...He woke up next day with a feeling of incomprehensible excitement.
The April morning was bright and windy ...For lunch there was the remains of the
paschal cream cheese (now a squat little cone with a grayish shading on its
round summit) and a still untouched Easter cake...."

"...It was more than
ten years since he had been in a Russian home and now, finding himself in a
house where a gaudy Russia was boldly put on display, he experienced a childish
elation, a desire to clap his hands — never in his life had he felt so cozy and
so at ease. 'Left over from Easter,' he said with conviction, pointing with his
auricular finger at a large gold-patterned wooden egg (a tombola prize from a
charity ball)..."

"That same day there was also a church
wedding....Peering further into the depths of the past he remembered nocturnal
returns on Catkin Night, holding a candle whose flame darted about in his
hands... And he remembered the nights at Easter: the deacon would read in a
sobbing bass voice, and still sobbing would close the enormous gospel with a
sweeping gesture.... And he remembered how airy and penetrating, so that it
evoked a sucking sensation in the epigaster, the Greek word 'pascha' (paschal
cake) sounded on an empty stomach when it was pronounced by the emaciated
priest...Languorous recollections, duskiness, fitful gleams, saporous church air
and pins and needles in the legs. And to all this now was added a veiled bride,
and a crown that trembled in the air over his very head and looked as if it
might fall at any minute...Afterwards, when everyone was sitting at the big
table, he had the same feeling you get when you come home after matins to the
festive table with its gilt-horned ram made of butter, a ham, and a
virgin-smooth pyramid of paschal cottage cheese that you want to start on right
away, bypassing the ham and eggs. It was hot and noisy...Mrs. Luzhin looked at
her husband, at his curl, at his beautifully tailored dress suit and at the
crooked half-smile with which he greeted the

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