Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0026119, Tue, 14 Apr 2015 01:47:30 +0300

tyrant's best portrait in Tyrants Destroyed & VN's hexaptych
Как мне избавиться от него? Я не могу больше. Всё полно им, всё, что я люблю, оплёвано, всё стало его подобием, его зеркалом, и в чертах уличных прохожих, в глазах моих бедных школьников всё яснее и безнадежнее проступает его облик. Не только плакаты, которые я обязан давать им срисовывать, лишь толкуют линии его личности, но и простой белый куб, который даю в младших классах, мне кажется его портретом, – его лучшим портретом быть может. Кубический, страшный, как мне избыть тебя?
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 passerby 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 portrait - perhaps his best portrait. O cubic monster, how can I eradicate you? (Tyrants Destroyed, chapter 15)

A cube has six sides. Tyrants Destroyed is a part of VN's tetraptych (four stories including "Cloud, Castle, Lake," "Tyrants Destroyed," "Vasiliy Shishkov" and "The Enchanter"). Troshcheykin, the main character in VN's play "The Event," is a portrait painter. Salvator Waltz, the main character in VN's play "The Waltz Invention," dreams of becoming the ruler of the world. VN's two plays form a diptych. 4 + 2 = 6. The names Hitler and Stalin consist of six letters. In "Cloud, Castle, Lake" the post-office clerk, Vasiliy Ivanovich's roommate, mentions Tsaritsyn (Stalingrad from 1925 to 1961). Berlin and Moskva (Moscow) also have six letters.

Alexey Sklyarenko

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