NABOKV-L post 0018787, Mon, 16 Nov 2009 01:29:14 -0200

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Re: [NABOKOV-L] [QUERY] Balagur/ Balaganchik
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Alexey Sklyarenko: I mention balagan (low farce) and Balaganov, a character in Ilf and Petrov's "The Golden Calf" (1931), in my article THE NAKED TRUTH, OR THE READER'S SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION IN ADA'S QUELQUE CHOSE UNIVERSITY (http://www.libraries.psu.edu/nabokov/sklyarenko7.doc). An anagram that may amuse you: BALAGAN + URSUS + MARINA = BALAGUR + SUSANNA + IRMA ...As to Balaganchik, it is a play in verse, interspersed with prose monologues, by Blok (1906). It was dedicated to Meyerhold who produced the play's stage version. It shouldn't be confused with Blok's poem of the same title (1905), or Balagan, another short poem by Blok (1906).
Dmitri Nabokov: I have been unable to connect with TRUMP CARDS, and wonder if James Twiggs might be so kind as to help me obtain the Banville review...

JM [to J. Twiggs] Could I also get a copy of the Banville review?

Thank you Alexey for the help and the amusing anagram morfs. I supose, then, that Nabokov's "balagur" is related to "wag" and to "low farce"*.

The internet explanation for "waggish" quoted James Fenimore Cooper's "The Deerslayer" and Muskrat (almost a play with Pale Fire's muscat/mouse-cat reference**): "Muskrat Castle as the house has been facetiously named by some waggish officer".
btw: Muskrats share the same habitat as, and are perhaps related to, beavers ( CK's nickname).


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* (excerpt from Sklyarenko's article):"The name Balaganov comes from balagan, which means, among other things, "low farce." If Van's college tutor ...had spoken Russian, he would have used this word when he scolds Van for combining his university studies with the circus (that is, low farce)...(1.30)."

** - note to line 49: John Shade's ...Hebe's Cup ( title: The Sacred Tree)
"The ginkgo leaf, in golden hue, when shed,/ A muscat grape,/ Is an old-fashioned butterfly, ill-spread,/ In shape." [...]I do not know if it is relevant or not but there is a cat-and-mouse game in the second line, and "tree" in Zemblan is grados."

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