Parnok/Prokna + syn/sny + Ardis/Sidra + Van + Ada = Parnas + rynok/nyrok + Vanadis + ad/da = Paris + rysak/krysa + Vanda + donna = nirvana + dyra + sok + Pan/nap + sad


Parnok - Sofia Parnok (1885-1933), a minor poet (Russian Sappho), Podruga (Girlfriend) of Marina Tsvetaev (a poet of genius, 1892-1941)

Prokna - Procne (in ancient Greek mythology, Philomelas sister who was transformed into a swallow); in Pale Fire (1962) Sybil Shades real name seems to by Sofia Botkin, born Lastochkin (lastochka is Russian for swallow)

syn - son; Demon Veen (Vans and Adas father) calls Van (who just returned from Ardis where he had spent the summer) synok moy (my son, Ada, 1.27)

sny - dreams (pl. of son, sleep, dream)

Ardis - the country estate of Daniel Veen (Lucettes father, Van and Adas uncle); according to Mlle Larivire (Lucettes governess), in Greek ardis means the point of an arrow (1.36)

Sidra - Gulf of Sidra (in the Mediterranean Sea on the northern coast of Libya); Professor Ivan Veen is the author of Reflections in Sidra (1905), a grand piece (according to Ada, 3.7)

Van - Van Veen (the narrator and main character in Ada)

Ada - Ada Veen (Vans sister and mistress in Ada)

Parnas - Russian name of Parnassus (a mountain in Greece, home of the Muses); cf. Guillaume de Monparnasse, Mlle Larivires penname; according to Mlle Larivire, the leaving out of the t made it more intime (1.31); Parnas (1808) is a fable by Krylov; in his mock epic in octaves, Domik v Kolomne (The Small Cottage in Kolomna, 1830), Pushkin says that in our times Parnassus got badly overgrown with nettles and the poets transferred their camp to tolkuchiy rynok (a second-hand goods market):


ܧѧا, ѧ! ѧߧѧܧڧ ڧߧէ֧
ԧ ߧ ҧԧߧѧ ҧ. ֧ԧѧ
ѧ, ٧ ߧ֧. ӧ ܧݧէ֧
. ܧѧڧӧ ѧߧѧ;
ѧӧܧ ֧ اڧӧק, ӧէ֧
ѧ֧ ާ ߧ ֧ݧѧ֧ ߧѧ.
ѧҧ ӧ ܧݧѧڧ֧ܧڧ ӧ֧ڧߧ
֧֧ߧ֧ݧ ާ ߧ ݧܧڧ ߧ. (VIII)


rynok - market, market-place

nyrok - dive; orn., pochard; in VNs translation of Lewis Carrolls  Alices Adventures in Wonderland the first chapter (Down the Rabbit-Hole) is entitled Nyrok v krolichyu norku

Vanadis C one of the names of Freya (the Scandinavian Venus)

ad - hell

da - yes

Paris (also known as Lute on Antiterra, aka Demonia, Earths twin planet on which Ada is set) - the capital of France; a character in Homers Iliad, son of Priam (king of Troy) and Hecuba (queen of Troy) who eloped with Helen (queen of Sparta)

rysak - trotter; cf. Skazhu, rysak! (I say, a trotter!), the exclamation with which the above-quoted stanza (its last word is rynok) of Pushkins Domik v Kolomne begins; according to Pushkin, Pegasus (the Parnassian ambler) is old, has lost its teeth and would not overtake that trotter

krysa - rat

Vanda - Vanda Broom, Adas lesbian schoolmate at Brownhill; her name is secretly present in Adas poem that she wrote down under her prim photo in the graduation album:


In the old manor, I've parodied

Every veranda and room,

And jacarandas at Arrowhead

In supernatural bloom. (1.43)


According to Ada, Vanda was shot dead by the girlfriend of a girlfriend:


Would she like to stay in this apartment till Spring Term (he thought in terms of Terms now) and then accompany him to Kingston, or would she prefer to go abroad for a couple of months anywhere, Patagonia, Angola, Gululu in the New Zealand mountains? Stay in this apartment? So, she liked it? Except some of Cordulas stuff which should be ejected as, for example, that conspicuous Brown Hill Alma Mater of Almehs left open on poor Vandas portrait. She had been shot dead by the girlfriend of a girlfriend on a starry night, in Ragusa of all places. It was, Van said, sad. (2.6)


donna - Madam, Lady: Italian title of respect prefixed to the given name of a woman; cf. Belladonna, a movie magazine that published Adas and Marinas photograph:


Van had seen the picture [the Hollywood version of Four Sisters, as Chekhov's play "The Three Sisters," 1901, is known on Antiterra] and had liked it. An Irish girl, the infinitely graceful and melancholy Lenore Colline -


Oh! qui me rendra ma colline

Et le grand chne and my colleen!


- harrowingly resembled Ada Ardis as photographed with her mother in Belladonna, a movie magazine which Greg Erminin had sent him, thinking it would delight him to see aunt and cousin, together, on a California patio just before the film was released. (2.9)


'Your father,' added Lucette, 'paid a man from Belladonna to take pictures - but of course, real fame begins only when one's name appears in that cine-magazine's crossword puzzle. We all know it will never happen, never! Do you hate me now?'

 'I don't,' he said, passing his hand over her sun-hot back and rubbing her coccyx to make pussy purr. 'Alas, I don't! I love you with a brother's love and maybe still more tenderly. Would you like me to order drinks?' (3.5)


Van quotes Onegin's words to Tatiana in Pushkin's Eugene Onegin (Four: XVI: 3-4).


nirvana - place or state characterized by freedom from or oblivion to pain, worry and the external world; Adas last chapter begins with nirvana:


Nirvana, Nevada, Vaniada. By the way, should I not add, my Ada, that only at the very last interview with poor dummy-mummy, soon after my premature - I mean, premonitory - nightmare about, 'You can, Sir,' she employed mon petit nom, Vanya, Vanyusha - never had before, and it sounded so odd, so tend... (voice trailing off, radiators tinkling).

'Dummy-mum' - (laughing). 'Angels, too, have brooms - to sweep one's soul clear of horrible images. My black nurse was Swiss-laced with white whimsies.' (5.6)


dyra - hole

sok - juice; sap

Pan - ancient Greek god of forests, pastures, flocks, and shepherds; cf. Alexis Pan, the futurist poet in The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (1941); in Manhattan (aka Man on Antiterra) Van lives on Alexis Avenue

sad - garden; cf. Letnyi Sad (Le Jardin dEt), a public park in St. Petersburg to which Onegins tutor took the boy for walks (EO, One: III: 14)


Alexey Sklyarenko

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