Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026075, Sat, 14 Mar 2015 00:46:25 +0300

Onegin in The Event; generals & Anabella in The Waltz Invention
In The Event Troshcheykin's wife Lyubov' identifies herself with Pushkin's Tatiana and several times quotes Princess N.'s words to Onegin in Chapter Eight of Eugene Onegin:

Любовь. Онегин, я тогда моложе, я лучше... Да, я тоже ослабела. Не помню... А хорошо было на этой мгновенной высоте.
"Onegin, I was then younger, I was better-looking... Yes, I too have become weak. Can't remember... It was good though on that instantaneous eminence. " (Act Two)

Prince N., Tatiana's husband, is a fat general. He first appears in the penultimate stanza (LIV) of Chapter Seven of EO:

Так мысль её далече бродит:
Забыт и свет и шумный бал,
А глаз меж тем с неё не сводит
Какой-то важный генерал.
Друг другу тётушки мигнули
И локтем Таню враз толкнули,
И каждая шепнула ей:
- Взгляни налево поскорей. -
"Налево? где? что там такое?"
- Ну, что бы ни было, гляди...
В той кучке, видишь? впереди,
Там, где ещё в мундирах двое...
Вот отошёл... вот боком стал...
"Кто? толстый этот генерал?"

Thus does her thought roam far away:
high life and noisy ball are both forgotten,
but meantime does not take his eyes off her
a certain imposing general.
The aunts exchanged a wink
and both as one nudged Tanya with their elbows,
and each whispered to her:
“Look quickly to your left.”
“My left? Where? What is there?"
“Well, whatsoever there be, look....
In that group, see? In front....
There where you see those two in uniform....
Now he has moved off... now he stands in profile.”
“Who? That fat general?”

In the preceding stanza (LIII) of EO waltz is mentioned:

Шум, хохот, беготня, поклоны,
Галоп, мазурка, вальс... Меж тем,
Между двух тёток, у колоны,
Не замечаема никем,
Татьяна смотрит и не видит,
Волненье света ненавидит;
Ей душно здесь... она мечтой
Стремится к жизни полевой,
В деревню, к бедным поселянам,
В уединённый уголок,
Где льётся светлый ручеёк,
К своим цветам, к своим романам
И в сумрак липовых аллей,
Туда, где он являлся ей.

Noise, laughter, scampering, bows,
galope, mazurka, waltz... Meantime,
between two aunts, beside a column,
noted by none,
Tatiana looks and does not see,
detests the agitation of the monde;
she stifles here... she strains in fancy
toward campestral life,
the country, the poor villagers,
to that secluded nook
where flows a limpid brooklet,
toward her flowers, toward her novels,
and to the gloom of linden avenues,
thither where he used to appear to her.

The epigraph to Chapter Eight of EO is the beginning of Byron's famous poem addressed to his wife Annabella (Anne Isabella Milbanke):

Fare thee well, and if for ever,
Still for ever, fare thee well.

The characters of The Waltz Invention include eleven generals and Anabella, general Berg's beauteful daughter.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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