NABOKV-L post 0020736, Thu, 16 Sep 2010 22:19:36 +0400

Gogol's Poprishchin and Zembla
When brought to a mad house (or, as he believes, to Madrid), Poprishchin, the hero of Gogol's Madman's Notes who imagines himself to be the Spanish King Ferdinand VIII, discovers that China and Spain are one and the same land:

Я открыл, что Китай и Испания совершенно одна и та же земля, и только по невежеству считают их за разные государства. Я советую всем нарочно написать на бумаге Испания, то и выйдет Китай.

"I discovered that China and Spain were essentially the same land [sovershenno odna i ta zhe zemlya] and only through ignorance they are believed to be different countries. I recommend everybody to put down on paper Spain and it will come out China."

I'm not sure if there is a connection to Botkin's madness in Pale Fire. If there is a connection, does it suggest that Zembla = Appalachia? Zembla = Russia? Zembla = Sweden? America = Russia?

Alexey Sklyarenko

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