The details of the L disaster (and I do not mean Elevated) in the beau milieu of last century, which had the singular effect of both causing and cursing the notion of 'Terra,' are too well-known historically, and too obscene spiritually, to be treated at length in a book addressed to young laymen and lemans - and not to grave men or gravemen.

Of course, today, after great anti-L years of reactionary delusion have gone by (more or less!) and our sleek little machines, Faragod bless them, hum again after a fashion, as they did in the first half of the nineteenth century, the mere geographic aspect of the affair possesses its redeeming comic side, like those patterns of brass marquetry, and bric--Braques, and the ormolu horrors that meant art to our humorless forefathers. (1.3)

 

Darkbloom (Notes to Ada): Faragod: apparently, the god of electricity.

 

In VNs story Istreblenie tiranov (Tyrants Destroyed, 1938) the narrator mentions the gods and a man who dresses up in godly garb:

 

ԧէ ҧԧ, ҧӧѧݧ, ڧߧڧާѧݧ ٧֧ާߧ ҧѧ , ݧڧݧӧѧ է֧اէѧ, ܧާߧ ڧݧߧ ѧ ާܧݧڧާ ߧԧѧާ ߧ֧٧ѧݧקߧߧ ֧ ݧ֧ߧڧѧ, ӧݧݧڧ ֧է ݧ֧ӧ ѧҧߧڧܧ ڧݧ ԧߧ ѧ, ڧ ҧا֧ӧ֧ߧߧ ߧڧܧݧܧ ߧ ҧݧ ڧ ާѧݧ֧ߧ; ߧѧڧ -- ѧӧѧߧڧ ֧ݧӧ֧ߧ, ҧӧ֧ӧѧ֧ ڧ, ҧݧ ӧѧ٧ڧ֧ݧߧ֧֧ۧ ҧߧӧݧ֧ߧڧ ڧ ߧ֧٧֧ާߧ ߧ. ܧԧէ ԧѧߧڧ֧ߧߧ, ԧҧ, ާѧݧҧѧ٧ӧѧߧߧ ֧ݧӧ֧, ߧ ֧ӧ ӧ٧ԧݧ ֧֧ѧ٧էߧ ѧߧѧڧ, է֧ۧӧڧ֧ݧߧ ѧާէ, ا֧ܧڧ ާѧߧ ݧ ҧݧ֧٧ߧ֧ߧߧ ԧߧ -- ܧԧէ ѧܧ ֧ݧӧ֧ ߧѧاѧ֧ ҧԧ, ֧ ֧֧ ҧԧѧާ ڧ٧ӧڧߧڧ.

 

When the gods used to assume earthly form and, clad in violet-tinted raiment, demurely but powerfully stepping with muscular feet in still dustless sandals, appeared to field laborers or mountain shepherds, their divinity was not in the least diminished for it; on the contrary, the charm of humanness enwafting them was a most eloquent reconfirmation of their celestial essence. But when a limited, coarse, little-educated manat first glance a third-rate fanatic and in reality a pigheaded, brutal, and gloomy vulgarian full of morbid ambitionwhen such a man dresses up in godly garb, one feels like apologizing to the gods. (chapter 3)

 

According to the narrator (a humble teacher of drawing in a provincial high school) of VNs story, the simple white cube is, perhaps, the tyrants best portrait:

 

ѧ ާߧ ڧ٧ҧѧӧڧ ߧ֧ԧ? ߧ ާԧ ҧݧ. ݧߧ ڧ, ӧ, ݧҧݧ, ݧ֧ӧѧߧ, ӧ ѧݧ ֧ԧ էҧڧ֧, ֧ԧ ٧֧ܧѧݧ, ֧ѧ ݧڧߧ اڧ, ԧݧѧ٧ѧ ާڧ ҧ֧էߧ ܧݧߧڧܧ ӧ ߧ֧ ҧ֧٧ߧѧէ֧اߧ֧ ѧ֧ ֧ԧ ҧݧڧ. ݧܧ ݧѧܧѧ, ܧ ҧ٧ѧ էѧӧѧ ڧ ڧӧӧѧ, ݧڧ ݧܧ ݧڧߧڧ ֧ԧ ݧڧߧ, ߧ ҧ֧ݧ ܧ, ܧ էѧ ާݧѧէڧ ܧݧѧѧ, ާߧ ܧѧا֧ ֧ԧ ֧,-- ֧ԧ ݧڧ ֧ ҧ ާا֧. ҧڧ֧ܧڧ, ѧߧ, ܧѧ ާߧ ڧ٧ҧ ֧ҧ?

 

How can I get rid of him? I cannot stand it any longer. Everything is full of him, everything I love has been besmirched, everything has become his likeness, his mirror image, and, in the features of passersby and in the eyes of my wretched schoolchildren, his countenance shows ever clearer and more hopelessly. Not only the posters that I am obliged to have them copy in color do nothing but interpret the pattern of his personality, but even the simple white cube I give the younger classes to draw seems to me his portraitperhaps his best portrait. O cubic monster, how can I eradicate you? (chapter 15)

 

In his Notes VN says that Hitler, Lenin and Stalin dispute his tyrants throne. The name of at least one of the three pretenders to the tyrants throne in Tyrants Destroyed begins with an L. Like Van Veen (the narrator and main character in Ada) and Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov (VNs father, one of the founders of the Constitutional Democratic Party), Lenin was born in 1870.

 

Darkbloom (Notes to Ada): braques: allusion to a bric--brac painter. George Braques (1882-1963) was a Cubist painter. On the other hand, bric--Braques, and the ormolu horrors that meant art to our humorless forefathers bring to mind brikabrak (an antique shop, bric--brac in Russian spelling) mentioned by Tolstoy in Smert Ivana Ilyicha (The Death of Ivan Ilyich, 1886):

 

ݧӧ ѧѧާ, ܧ ӧѧ ݧڧ ѧ ѧ ҧ, ܧڧ ҧڧܧѧҧѧܧ, ק ӧѧߧӧڧ ӧ֧ڧ ӧ֧ߧߧڧܧ ֧ ߧ֧ܧݧܧ ٧ߧѧܧާ, ڧ֧ѧӧڧ ߧ ѧߧڧڧէ, ӧڧէѧ ٧ߧѧܧާ ֧ާ ܧѧڧӧ ҧѧߧ, է ӧѧߧ ݧڧ.

 

In the dining-room where the clock stood that Ivan Ilyich was so glad that he had bought it at an antique shop, Pyotr Ivanovich met a priest and a few acquaintances who had come to attend the service, and he recognized Ivan Ilyichs daughter, a handsome young woman. (chapter I)

 

Describing Ivan Ilyichs love life, Tolstoy mentions poezdki v dalnyuyu ulitsu posle uzhina (after-supper visits to a certain outlying street of doubtful reputation):

 

ݧ ӧڧߧڧ ӧ٧ էߧ ڧ էѧ, ߧѧӧ٧ѧӧ֧ۧ ֧ԧݧ֧ӧѧާ ѧӧӧ֧է; ҧݧ ާէڧܧ; ҧݧ ۧܧ ڧ֧٧اڧާ ݧڧԧ֧ݧ-ѧէѧߧѧާ ֧٧էܧ էѧݧߧ ݧڧ ݧ اڧߧ; ҧݧ էݧاڧӧѧߧ ߧѧѧݧߧڧܧ էѧا ا֧ߧ ߧѧѧݧߧڧܧ, ߧ ӧ ߧڧݧ ߧ ֧ҧ ѧܧ ӧܧڧ էߧ, ӧ ߧ ާԧݧ ҧ ߧѧ٧ӧѧ֧ާ էߧާ ݧӧѧާ: ӧ էէڧݧ ݧܧ ҧڧܧ ѧߧ٧ܧԧ ڧ٧֧֧ߧڧ: il faut que jeunesse se passe. ڧէڧݧ ڧާ ܧѧާ, ڧ ҧѧܧѧ, ѧߧ٧ܧڧާ ݧӧѧާ , ԧݧѧӧߧ, ѧާ ӧ֧ ҧ֧ӧ, ݧ֧էӧѧ֧ݧߧ, էҧ֧ߧڧ֧ ӧܧ ڧ ݧէ֧.

 

In the province he had an affair with a lady who made advances to the elegant young lawyer, and there was also a milliner; and there were carousals with aides-de-camp who visited the district, and after-supper visits to a certain outlying street of doubtful reputation; and there was too some obsequiousness to his chief and even to his chief's wife, but all this was done with such a tone of good breeding that no hard names could be applied to it. It all came under the heading of the French saying: "Il faut que jeunesse se passe." It was all done with clean hands, in clean linen, with French phrases, and above all among people of the best society and consequently with the approval of people of rank. (chapter II)

 

At the beginning of Apofeoz bespochvennosti (The Apotheosis of Groundlessness, 1905) Lev Shestov mentions dalnie ulitsy zhizni (the obscure streets of life) where there is no electric light:

 

ѧݧߧڧ ݧڧ اڧ٧ߧ ߧ ֧էѧӧݧ ֧ էҧ, ܧާ ڧӧܧݧ ݧ٧ӧѧ ҧڧѧ֧ݧ ԧէܧڧ ֧ߧ. ֧ ݧ֧ܧڧ֧ܧԧ ԧѧ٧ӧԧ ӧ֧֧ߧڧ, էѧا ܧ֧ڧߧӧ ߧѧ֧, ߧ֧ ާӧ - ߧڧܧ ڧէڧ ڧէ ߧѧԧѧ ֧ާߧ ӧѧ էԧ. ݧ ֧ ԧߧ, ߧاߧ اէѧ ާݧߧڧ, ݧڧҧ ѧާާ էҧ ڧܧ ֧ ֧ӧҧߧ ҧ, ܧѧܧ ֧ӧӧѧ ߧѧڧ էѧݧ֧ߧߧ ֧էܧ: ӧҧڧ ֧ ڧ ܧѧާߧ. ާԧߧӧ֧ߧߧ ӧ֧ ӧէ ڧ ֧ާߧ ӧ ֧ѧߧڧ ߧ֧٧ߧѧܧާ ާ֧: ӧڧէ֧ էߧ ާԧߧӧ֧ߧڧ - ѧѧۧ է֧اѧ ѧާ, ڧҧߧ ڧݧ ѧӧڧݧߧ ҧݧ ӧ ӧ֧ѧݧ֧ߧڧ. ѧ ߧ ܧ էѧ էҧ ӧ֧ - ѧ٧ӧ ڧҧ֧ ݧҧ ֧ߧ ڧ ԧݧѧ ڧܧ . ާاߧ ѧܧ ӧ֧ ӧڧէ֧? ܧѧ ާاߧ ֧ҧӧѧ ֧ݧڧӧ ߧ اէ֧ߧڧ ֧ ݧէ֧, ܧ ݧҧ٧ߧѧ֧ݧߧ (ҧէ֧ էާѧ, ݧҧ٧ߧѧ֧ݧߧ էѧߧ ߧѧ ڧݧߧ) էڧݧ ѧߧӧӧѧ ܧѧڧߧѧ اڧ٧ߧ? ܧѧ ާاߧ ڧ է֧ݧ ڧѧӧߧڧӧѧ է֧ݧ ҧڧѧ֧ݧ֧ ֧ߧ?

 

The obscure streets of life do not offer the conveniences of the central thoroughfares: no electric light, no gas, not even a kerosene lamp-bracket. There are no pavements: the traveler has to fumble his way in the dark. If he needs a light, he must wait for a thunderbolt, or else, primitive-wise, knock a spark out of a stone. In a glimpse will appear unfamiliar outlines; and then, what he has taken in he must try to remember, no matter whether the impression was right or false. For he will not easily get another light, except he run his head against a wall, and see sparks that way. What can a wretched pedestrian gather under such circumstances? How can we expect a clear account from him whose curiosity (let us suppose his curiosity so strong) led him to grope his way among the outskirts of life? Why should we try to compare his records with those of the travelers through brilliant streets? (Part One, 1)

 

After the L disaster in the middle of the 19th century electricity was banned on Antiterra (aka Demonia, Earths twin planet on which Ada is set):

 

The unmentionable magnetic power denounced by evil lawmakers in this our shabby country oh, everywhere, in Estoty and Canady, in German Mark Kennensie, as well as in Swedish Manitobogan, in the workshop of the red-shirted Yukonets as well as in the kitchen of the red-kerchiefed Lyaskanka, and in French Estoty, from Bras dOr to Ladore and very soon throughout both our Americas, and all over the other stunned continents was used on Terra as freely as water and air, as bibles and brooms. (1.3)

 

The Death of Ivan Ilyich is a favorite book of Nikolay Petrovich Yatsenko, the investigator in Aldanov's novels Klyuch (The Key, 1929) and Begstvo (The Escape, 1930). In "The Key" Yatsenko meets Fomin (a young lawyer) and Prince Gorenski at an antique shop where there is a lot of old furniture:

 

ѧߧڧܧӧѧ ֧ߧܧ ߧ ҧݧ ҧݧѧ٧ߧ, ѧ ӧ ѧ ҧݧ ߧ֧էߧ էݧ ߧ֧ԧ ֧ߧѧ. ֧ާ ߧ֧ݧӧܧ ҧݧ ѧ ٧ѧէڧ ާѧԧѧ٧ڧ, ԧէ ߧڧܧԧէ ߧڧ֧ԧ ߧ ܧѧ.

ѧԧѧ٧ڧ ݧ֧էߧ֧ ӧ֧ާ ӧק ާէ. էӧ ԧ ٧ѧѧӧݧ֧ߧߧ ܧާߧѧѧ ҧݧ ӧ: ԧѧӧ, ܧѧڧߧ, ѧ, ҧ֧٧է֧ݧܧ, ܧߧڧԧ. ֧ԧ ҧݧ ҧݧ ѧڧߧߧ ާ֧ҧ֧ݧ. ߧ ӧ ѧڧߧߧ ҧ֧֧ӧߧ. «ߧѧ ܧѧڧӧ اڧ٧ߧ» ڧާ֧ ҧ֧ӧ ԧާߧ ֧, ݧէ, ا֧ݧѧӧڧ ܧѧڧӧ اڧ, ҧڧѧݧ ҧܧ, ѧҧѧܧ֧ܧ, ާڧߧڧѧ, ѧ, ܧҧܧ, ֧ӧ ڧ٧էѧߧڧ ܧߧڧ է֧ݧѧݧ ߧ ݧܧ֧ ߧܧ ѧާ ڧ٧ާڧ֧ݧߧ ߧѧէܧ. ҧݧ ߧ էߧԧ ֧ԧ էާ, ߧ էߧԧ ާէߧԧ ާѧߧ ҧ֧ ܧѧ֧ݧܧ ҧ֧֧٧, ֧٧ߧԧ էҧ, «٧ѧ ܧާէ» «٧ݧקߧ ԧѧߧڧ» (ݧѧԧѧݧ ԧӧڧ ا֧ߧܧ է: ԧѧߧڧ). (Part One, chapter XVI)

 

At the end of Peshchera (The Cave, 1932), the third novel of Aldanovs trilogy, Braun commits suicide by inhaling "une forte dose dacide cyanhydrique quil a fait dgager dans un curieux appareil de sa construction." When Braun rushes home, tovarishch Faradey (Comrade Faraday) pops up in his stream of consciousness:

 

ԧݧ ҧܧӧ ݧڧ ӧڧ֧ݧ ԧާߧѧ, ާߧԧӧ֧ߧѧ, اקݧ-ܧѧߧާ ڧԧѧާ, էӧڧߧѧ ѧڧ ܧڧߧ֧ާѧԧѧ, ٧ѧݧڧѧ ڧߧڧ ӧ֧, ѧߧѧ ߧ֧֧֧ӧ֧ߧߧ ҧ֧٧ҧѧ٧ڧ֧. « էߧ ֧է ѧҧѧݧ, ӧѧڧ ѧѧէ֧ۡ էҧ ֧ ҧݧ֧ԧڧ ާ ݧ֧էߧڧ ާڧߧ: ѧާ ֧ܧѧߧ ڧ ԧէ ܧѧ٧ӧѧ֧ ӧ էݧڧӧ֡ , ѧ էڧ ݧ֧ԧ֡ ߧѧ, ٧ߧѧ, ֧ էԧ, ާߧ ݧ ߧ ٧ߧѧ? ѧ, ѧڧ, ҧݧѧԧէѧ ٧ ӧ, ٧ ӧ»

"It is Don Pedro for whom you worked, Comrade Faraday... The Fate wants to relieve my last minutes by showing me the ugliest things in the most beautiful of cities... Goodbye, Paris, I thank you for everything, for everything..."

 

Faragod hints at Michael Faraday (1791-1867), the discoverer of electromagnetic induction. Faraday is mentioned by Aldanov in Povest' o smerti ("The Tale about Death," 1952).

 

A journalist who becomes a movie man in emigration, Don Pedro (a character in Aldanovs trilogy) brings to mind G.A. Vronsky, the movie man with whom Marina (Vans, Adas and Lucettes mother) had a brief affair and who left her for another long-lashed Khristosik (1.3), and Pedro, a young Latin actor whom Marina had brought from Mexico and was keeping at a hotel in Ladore:

 

The shooting script was now ready. Marina, in dorean robe and coolie hat, reclined reading in a long-chair on the patio. Her director, G.A. Vronsky, elderly, baldheaded, with a spread of grizzled fur on his fat chest, was alternately sipping his vodka-and-tonic and feeding Marina typewritten pages from a folder. On her other side, crosslegged on a mat, sat Pedro (surname unknown, stagename forgotten), a repulsively handsome, practically naked young actor, with satyr ears, slanty eyes, and lynx nostrils, whom she had brought from Mexico and was keeping at a hotel in Ladore. (1.32)

 

At a hotel in Ladore Pedro occupies room 222:

 

I had hoped youd sleep here, said Marina (not really caring one way or another). What is your room number at the hotel not 222 by any chance?

She liked romantic coincidences. Demon consulted the tag on his key: 221 which was good enough, fatidically and anecdotically speaking. Naughty Ada, of course, stole a glance at Van, who tensed up the wings of his nose in a grimace that mimicked the slant of Pedros narrow, beautiful nostrils. (1.38)

 

2 + 2 + 2 = 6. The name Shestov comes from shest (six). Shestov is the author of Potestas Clavium. Vlast klyuchey (Power of the Keys, 1923).

 

After Pedro had suddenly left for Rio, Marina offers Van a scarf that her lover had left behind:

 

Tell me, is there anything I could do for you? Do think up something! Would you like a beautiful, practically new Peruvian scarf, which he left behind, that crazy boy? No? Its not your style? (1.37)

 

During his conversation with Marina Van sits on ivanilich (a kind of old hassock):

 

'Sit down, have a spot of chayku,' she said. 'The cow is in the smaller jug, I think. Yes, it is.' And when Van, having kissed her freckled hand, lowered himself on the ivanilich (a kind of sighing old hassock upholstered in leather): 'Van, dear, I wish to say something to you, because I know I shall never have to repeat it again. Belle, with her usual flair for the right phrase, has cited to me the cousinage-dangereux-voisinage adage - I mean "adage," I always fluff that word - and complained qu'on s'embrassait dans tous les coins. Is that true?' (1.37)

 

Darkbloom ('Notes to Ada'): Ivanilich: a pouf plays a marvelous part in Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich, where it sighs deeply under a friend of the widow's.

 

According to Marina, one of the Zemskis (the ancestors of the Veen-Durmanov family) was crazy about one of his mares:

 

The Zemskis were terrible rakes (razvratniki), one of them loved small girls, and another raffolait dune de ses juments and had her tied up in a special way-dont ask me how (double hand gesture of horrified ignorance when he dated her in her stall. (1.37)

 

In Ilf and Petrovs novel Dvenadtsat stulyev (The Twelve Chairs, 1928) the caretaker Tikhon to Benders question are there any marriageable young girls in this town replies that for some a mare would be a bride:

 

, ֧, ڧ ާݧէ ֧ݧӧ֧, ٧ѧߧӧڧ, ߧ֧ӧ֧ ӧѧ ԧէ ֧? ѧڧ էӧߧڧ ߧڧ ߧ էڧӧڧݧ.

ާ ܧҧݧ ߧ֧ӧ֧, ӧ֧ڧ , ߧ ӧӧ٧ӧѧ ѧ٧ԧӧ.

 

"Tell me, dad," said the young man, taking a puff, "are there any marriageable young girls in this town? "

The old caretaker did not show the least surprise.

"For some a mare'd be a  bride," he answered, readily striking up a conversation. (chapter 5)

 

Marina compares genes to chess knights and tells Van that they must play chess again:

 

Kstati ( propos), I could never understand how heredity is transmitted by bachelors, unless genes can jump like chess knights. I almost beat you, last time we played, we must play again, not today, though Im too sad today. (1.37)

 

In The Twelve Chairs Ostap Bender plays simultaneous chess in Vasyuki. In an introductory lecture, Plodotvornaya debyutnaya ideya (A Fruitful Opening Idea), Bender proposes to rename the Vasyuki chess club Klub Chetyryokh Koney (the Club of Four Knights). The Vasyuki chapter of Ilf and Petrovs novel is entitled Mezhduplanetnyi shakhmatnyi turnir (The Interplanetary Chess Tournament). Describing the discrepancy between Terra and Antiterra, Van mentions two chess games with identical openings and identical end moves:

 

There were those who maintained that the discrepancies and false overlappings between the two worlds were too numerous, and too deeply woven into the skein of successive events, not to taint with trite fancy the theory of essential sameness; and there were those who retorted that the dissimilarities only confirmed the live organic reality pertaining to the other world; that a perfect likeness would rather suggest a specular, and hence speculatory, phenomenon; and that two chess games with identical openings and identical end moves might ramify in an infinite number of variations, on one board and in two brains, at any middle stage of their irrevocably converging development. (1.3)

 

The three main characters in The Twelve Chairs, Bender, Vorobyaninov and Father Fyodor, are hunting for the diamonds concealed in the seat of a Hambs chair. One of the novels chapters is entitled Muzey mebeli (The Furniture Museum).

 

The title of Ilf and Petrovs novel brings to mind Bloks poem Dvenadtsat (The Twelve, 1918). The last words in The Twelve are Isus Khristos (Jesus Christ). Khristosik (as G. A. Vronski called all pretty starlets) means little Christ. In Ilf and Petrovs Zolotoy telyonok (The Golden Calf, 1931), the sequel novel of The Twelve Chairs, Ostap Bender says that he once impersonated Jesus Christ. The characters of The Golden Calf include nichya babushka (no ones grandmother), one of the inhabitants of Voronya slobodka (the Crows Nest) who is afraid of electricity and uses a kerosene lamp in her entresol apartment. At the beginning of a Flavita (Russian Scrabble) game that Van, Ada and Lucette play in Ardis Adas letters form the word kerosin (kerosene):

 

Lots had been cast, Ada had won the right to begin, and was in the act of collecting one by one, mechanically and unthinkingly, her seven luckies from the open case where the blocks lay face down, showing nothing but their anonymous black backs, each in its own cell of flavid velvet. She was speaking at the same time, saying casually: I would much prefer the Benten lamp here but it is out of kerosin. Pet (addressing Lucette), be a good scout, call her Good Heavens!

The seven letters she had taken, S,R,E,N,O,K,I, and was sorting out in her spektrik (the little trough of japanned wood each player had before him) now formed in quick and, as it were, self-impulsed rearrangement the key word of the chance sentence that had attended their random assemblage. (1.36)

 

The Flavita set was given to Marinas children by one of her former lovers, Baron Klim Avidov (anagram of Vladimir Nabokov).

 

According to Van, Ada plays Flavita much better than chess:

 

Van, a first-rate chess player he was to win in 1887 a match at Chose when he beat the Minsk-born Pat Rishin (champion of Underhill and Wilson, N.C.) had been puzzled by Adas inability of raising the standard of her, so to speak, damsel-errant game above that of a young lady in an old novel or in one of those anti-dandruff color-photo ads that show a beautiful model (made for other games than chess) staring at the shoulder of her otherwise impeccably groomed antagonist across a preposterous traffic jam of white and scarlet, elaborately and unrecognizably carved, Lalla Rookh chessmen, which not even cretins would want to play with even if royally paid for the degradation of the simplest thought under the itchiest scalp. Ada did manage, now and then, to conjure up a combinational sacrifice, offering, say, her queen with a subtle win after two or three moves if the piece were taken; but she saw only one side of the question, preferring to ignore, in the queer lassitude of clogged cogitation, the obvious counter combination that would lead inevitably to her defeat if the grand sacrifice were not accepted. On the Scrabble board, however, this same wild and weak Ada was transformed into a sort of graceful computing machine, endowed, moreover, with phenomenal luck, and would greatly surpass baffled Van in acumen, foresight and exploitation of chance, when shaping appetizing long words from the most unpromising scraps and collops. (ibid.)

 

Darkbloom ('Notes to Ada'): Pat Rishin: a play on patrician. One may recall Podgoretz (Russ. underhill) applying that epithet to a popular critic, would-be expert in Russian as spoken in Minsk and elsewhere. Minsk and Chess also figure in Chapter Six of Speak, Memory (p.133, N.Y. ed. 1966).

 

In Drugie berega (Other Shores, 1954), the Russian version of his autobiography Speak, Memory, VN mentions Morozovs drawing of Leo Tolstoy and A. B. Goldenweiser at a chess board:

 

ާߧ, ܧѧ ާ֧էݧ֧ߧߧ ӧݧ ڧ ҧާܧ ѧާѧߧ ާݧ, ӧ, ߧ ԧާѧէߧ ѧߧԧݧڧۧܧ ѧߧӧ էܧ ҧݧѧߧا֧ӧ ܧѧߧ ܧݧ֧ܧ, ҧ֧٧֧ߧ ݧا֧ߧڧ ҧݧ ҧѧݧѧߧڧӧѧߧ, ܧѧ ٧ӧ֧٧էڧ. ѧէѧ է֧ۧӧӧѧݧ, ٧ѧէѧ اڧݧ. Staunton'ܧڧ ѧާѧ ( 1920- ԧէ էէ ߧѧߧڧ էѧڧ ڧ ާ֧ާ ), ӧ֧ݧڧܧݧ֧ߧ ާѧڧӧߧ ڧԧ ߧ ҧѧۧܧӧ էӧѧ, ԧקߧߧ ӧڧߧ, ֧ܧѧާ ֧ ѧߧڧާ֧ ܧݧާ է֧, ӧѧاߧ ڧݧ ݧѧܧӧާ ӧܧݧާ, ܧѧ ҧ ٧ߧѧӧѧ ӧ ݧ ߧ էܧ. ѧܧ ا էܧ, ܧѧ ѧ ާ֧ڧӧ֧ۧ ߧ ߧڧ٧ܧ ݧڧܧ, ڧէ֧ݧ ֧ ݧ . . ݧէ֧ߧӧ֧ۧ٧֧ 6-ԧ ߧҧ 1904-ԧ ԧէ ѧާ ڧݧ (ڧߧ ٧ӧ, ߧߧ ݧӧܧ ٧֧ ܧӧ), է ߧڧާ, ߧ ܧԧݧ ݧ   ݧѧާ, ӧڧէ֧ ߧ ݧܧ ܧ ڧ էݧ ڧԧ, ߧ ҧާѧاߧ ݧ ( էڧ  Staunton), ڧܧݧ֧֧ߧߧ ӧߧ֧ߧߧ֧ ߧ ܧܧ. ӧ, ֧ݧ  ڧާ֧  ާڧ էӧѧէѧڧݧ֧ߧڧ ( 1940- ԧէ) ڧԧѧ, ާاߧ ҧݧ ٧ѧާ֧ڧ, ݧ֧֧ ܧߧڧ էߧԧ ڧ ܧߧ֧, ߧӧѧߧڧ էӧ-֧ ֧֧ էݧާѧߧ, ܧѧ ܧѧ ԧڧҧ, ڧҧ ާߧԧ էѧݧ֧ܧ ڧ ӧ٧ڧ, ާ֧ߧڧ ҧݧ ڧէ֧ ܧӧѧڧ ٧ ާ ֧ӧ֧ۧܧڧ ԧէ; ߧ ߧ ӧ֧ܧ ܧݧ֧ӧܧ ݧѧէ ߧ ֧ݧ ܧݧ֧ӧܧԧ ܧߧ ӧ ֧ ѧߧڧݧ ڧߧ ܧѧߧ ܧߧܧ, ӧէ ܧԧݧԧ ٧ߧѧܧ ߧ ݧҧ ѧݧڧӧԧ ڧߧէ. (Chapter Thirteen, 4)

 

I remember slowly emerging from a swoon of concentrated chess thought, and there, on a great English board of cream and cardinal leather, the flawless position was at last balanced like a constellation. It worked. It lived. My Staunton chessmen (a twenty-year-old set given to me by my fathers Englished brother, Konstantin), splendidly massive pieces, of tawny or black wood, up to four and a quarter inches tall, displayed their shiny contours as if conscious of the part they played. Alas, if examined closely, some of the men were seen to be chipped (after traveling in their box through the fifty or sixty lodgings I had changed during those years); but the top of the kings rook and the brow of the kings knight still showed a small crimson crown painted upon them, recalling the round mark on a happy Hindus forehead. (Chapter Fourteen, 3)

 

Alexey Sklyarenko

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