Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020960, Thu, 11 Nov 2010 21:18:10 +0300

St Priest of Chose

a moneylender, the famous St Priest of Chose (Ada, Part One, 28)

B. Boyd's Annotations (The Nabokovian #59): "VN writes of Count Emmanuil Sen-Pri [Saint-Priest] (1806-28), mentioned in Pushkin's Evgeniy Onegin, VIII.xxvi.4: 'This young artist shot himself... according to [some] in the presence of an eccentric Englishman who had promised to pay his gambling debts if guaranteed the spectacle of self-murder' (EO 3.197-98)."

Count de Saint-Priest is said to have been a gifted cartoonist. There are cartoonists in Ada (1.30):

"Mascodagama's spectacular success in a theatrical club that habitually limited itself to Elizabethan plays, with queens and fairies played by pretty boys, made first of all great impact on cartoonists. Deans, local politicians, national statesmen, and of course the current ruler of the Golden Horde were pictured as mascodagamas by topical humorists."

St Priest + malina + Greece + Grace = St Alin + masterpiece + Greg + race

карандаш + фига + рот = шарада + книга + торф

malina - Russ., raspberry (cf. Mandelshtam: "Whatever the execution, it's a raspberry to him [Stalin]")
Grace, Greg - the Erminin twins
St Alin - Colonel St Alin, a scoundrel, one of the two seconds in Demon Veen's duel with d'Onsky (1.2); cf. Van's words to Greg Erminin: "Your father preferred to pass for a Chekhovian colonel." (3.2)
карандаш - pencil; cf. Pushkin: "had blunted in all albums, / Saint-P[riest], your pencils" (EO, Canto Eight, XXVI, 3-4)
фига - fig
рот - mouth
шарада - charade
книга - book
торф - peat

Alexey Sklyarenko

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